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Bill Cole & William Parker: Two Masters: Live at the Prism

Jerry D'Souza By

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Over the years William Parker and Bill Cole have taken improvisation to new plateaus, through both individual projects and Cole's Untempered Ensemble, of which Parker is a member. This is their first full recording as a duo. They play a host of instruments from around the world, and given their credentials, it is not surprising that they have understood the instruments and mastered the technique of playing them as well.

The nageswaram is a double reed used in South Indian music, its counterpart being the shehnai, which is used in North Indian music. Both musicians play the nageswaram on "Election Funeral Dance, one articulating in the stronger intonation of the South Indian style, varying the pitch and playing long flittering lines, the other using a deeper tone, in modulation that would sit well in any improvised circumstance, including the Indian elements which it loops into along the way. Their assimilation of the instrument is mesmerizing.

The shehnai finds its soulmate in the Indonesian flute on "Bird and Branch. The intuitive relationship that Cole and Parker have elevates this composition as well—in the interplay, the entwining of lines that snake in and then sidle against each other, and the call and response communication. "Angels in Golden Mud heralds a balmy air that wafts on the strings of the harp-like doson ngoni as Cole sets up the drone on the didgeridoo for the base. Parker brings in a natural fluency as he shifts tempo and emphasis using the range of the doson ngoni.

At the end of it all, this record serves as an illuminating example of the intuitive relationship that Cole and Parker share.

Track Listing: Angels in Golden Mud; Ojibwa Song; Waterfalls of the South Bronx; Bird and Branch; Election Funeral Dance; Ending Sequence and Sunset

Personnel: Bill Cole (didgeridoo (Australia), flute (Ghana), voice, sona (China), shenai (India), nagaswarm (India), hojok (Korea)), William Parker (bass, voice, doson ngoni (Mali), flute (Indonesia), nagaswarm (India), dunno (talking drum), whistle)

Title: Two Masters: Live at the Prism | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Boxholder Records

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