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Oliver Lake - William Parker: To Roy

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "Light Over Still Water Paints A Portrait Of God"

To Roy is dedicated to the late trumpeter Roy Campbell Jr., who had risen among the ranks as a first-call session artist amid a fruitful career as a leader. He was an astute and powerful improviser who succumbed to cardiovascular disease on January 9, 2014. And this album signifies the first collaboration between ultra-modern jazz giants, bassist William Parker and saxophonist Oliver Lake.

It's a tightly focused encounter, where the musicians engage in plentiful call and response activities via liberal doses of improv. Lake's ringing overtones and Parker's fluent articulations span blues motifs, freely cultivated dialogues and sonorous melodies as they alternate between bustling interplay and copious expressionistic platforms. At times, they create imagery of uncovering mystical corridors along with fluctuating tempos and soulful unison choruses, while incorporating rubato-framed passages into the mix.

Parker's composition "Light Over Still Water Paints A Portrait Of God," is constructed with Lake's brazenly crafted free flights, popping notes and flickering runs. The duo executes a heated spiritual, hued with the bassist's scratchy phrasings and other areas featuring soft shadings and varying degrees of emotive sentiment. They expand and contract an abundant array of stirring notions, countered with low-key movements and patterns riding atop, largely asymmetrical cadences. Hence, the musicians instill a great deal of interest by merging structured works with the improvisational element and by throttling the pitch and not residing within one particular theme or subplot for lengthy periods of time. It's simply about two masters doing what they do best during this impassioned tribute to Campbell Jr.

Track Listing:

Personnel: Oliver Lake: saxophone; William Parker: bass

Title: To Roy | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Intakt Records

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