Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

358

William Parker Quartet: Raining on the Moon

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Following on the heels of his spectacular 2001 recording O'Neal's Porch, bassist William Parker has assembled the same quartet for a more roots-oriented session featuring vocalist Leena Conquest. Raining on the Moon draws upon these musicians' keen ability to listen and respond, and it aims successfully for a more organic sound.

The sparkling intensity of the opener, "Hunk Pappa Blues," rests solidly on a foundation which combines Parker's bass groove with peppery support from drummer Hamid Drake. The tune takes a voyage into outer sound after the quartet states the theme, and horn players Rob Brown and Lewis Barnes use this opportunity to engage in a fiery and spirited exchange. Moments later, vocalist Leena Conquest soars out of the mix proclaiming "My name is Hope." This is where Parker begins to engage his long-term interest in poetry; his stated philosophy with respect to lyrics is that "the words help to tell the story inside the music." For those not familiar with Parker's poetry, these pieces pursue an elemental purity through mystical language and metaphor, often verging on the psychedelic. The twist on "Song of Hope" comes at its conclusion, where Conquest repeats the querying line "Would you let me live?" It's hard to say no.

Music this free does not often incorporate vocals, and when it does it must walk the difficult tightrope between clear, open expression and the deep well of unpredictability. Conquest's singing on Raining on the Moon serves the over-riding thrust of the group, but its true strength comes from the words she delivers. Never pretentious and often almost childlike in their uncluttered message, the lyrics do indeed bring a higher level of meaning to the music in which they are embedded. The instrumental portions of Raining on the Moon cover a range of territory but most often dwell in the realm of relaxed swing, warm blues, and pulsing, understated energy.

What marks Raining on the Moon as unique in Parker's long list of recordings is its raw accessibility. Listeners from various backgrounds will find this disc inviting and exciting. And if that serves the purpose of introducing Parker's vision to new ears, it's more than done its job. William Parker is one of those extremely rare musicians who seems to impart a warm glow to every musical group he joins. When jazz historians look back on improvised music at the turn of this century, William Parker will stand as a giant among men.


Track Listing: Hunk Pappa Blues; Song of Hope; Old Tears; Raining on the Moon; Music Song; The Watermelon Song; James Baldwin to the Rescue; Donso Ngoni.

Personnel: William Parker: bass; Rob Brown: alto sax and flute; Lewis Barnes: trumpet; Hamid Drake: drums; Leena Conquest: vocals.

Title: Raining on the Moon | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Thirsty Ear Recordings

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Disappeared Behind the Sun CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by John Sharpe
Published: January 21, 2018
Read 2018 Neujahrskonzert New Year’s Concert CD/LP/Track Review 2018 Neujahrskonzert New Year’s Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Lux CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Unleashed CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "Backlog" CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 17, 2017
Read "Parrots Paradise" CD/LP/Track Review Parrots Paradise
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 8, 2017
Read "Juxtaposition" CD/LP/Track Review Juxtaposition
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 9, 2017
Read "IZA" CD/LP/Track Review IZA
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 17, 2017
Read "City Of Light" CD/LP/Track Review City Of Light
by John Sharpe
Published: December 22, 2017
Read "Automatic For The People - 25th Anniversary Edition" CD/LP/Track Review Automatic For The People - 25th Anniversary Edition
by Doug Collette
Published: November 12, 2017