415

William Parker: Blue Shadows & The Last Dances

Kurt Gottschalk By

Sign in to view read count








Charles Gayle
Blue Shadows
Silkheart
2007


Hamid Drake/Anders Gahnold/William Parker
The Last Dances
Ayler
2007


Over the last decade (this year marks the 10th anniversary of his brilliant Peach Orchard), William Parker has come to be one of the most exciting bandleaders around. The great gains have come with a small loss: Parker as a sideman is heard less and less. He still plays support — the loss isn't complete — but there was a time when he seemed to be not only in every band in New York, but managed to both propel and anchor all of them. Two recent releases serve to remind one of those days, both pulling together unreleased material from older sessions for new titles.

Charles Gayle's sessions with Parker were his strongest and Blue Shadows culls recordings for two other Silkheart releases. Five hours of tape recorded by Gayle, Parker, Vattel Cherry (on bass and percussion) and Michael Wimberly on drums in 1993 resulted in two records, Translations and Raining Fire. Gayle is heard here exclusively on tenor sax, with Parker playing bass, cello and half-size violin. While the two basses more than fill up the space between sax and drums, it's still great to hear Parker in support mode — always solid, sliding into harmonics and pulled strings but never leaving his post unattended.

By 2002, Parker was well-recognized as a composer and bandleader and another important turn in his career had taken place: with drummer Hamid Drake, he had become a part of one of the most exciting and in-demand rhythm sections of the day. With Drake he recalled the tradition of the rhythm section and where free jazz had long followed an every-man-for-himself dictum, Parker and Drake returned to the back line, working as a unit to set the stage for the horns. Much of the time it was with players with whom they already had a history (most notably Fred Anderson and Kidd Jordan), but the record ...and William Danced showed the duo's strength by putting them behind a relative unknown. Alto saxophonist Anders Gahnold is a bluesier player than most of their usual cohorts, casting a new light on the rhythm team (while it was released under the name "William Parker Trio," it's Gahnold's record). It was released by Ayler Records, which has been pushing hard into the download world. The disc is out of print and available as a paid download on the label's site, as is a new disc of recordings from the same session, this time under the more egalitarian "Drake/Gahnold/Parker". The four pieces are, as with Blue Shadows, every bit as strong as the original release. Parker's ideas as a bandleader continue to flourish and as long as there are old tapes stowed in cupboards we won't have to worry about missing his sideman days.


Tracks and Personnel

Blue Shadows

Tracks: Inside the Sun; Blue Shadows; Eternity Promised 1; Eternity Promised 2; Hearts to Jesus; Soul's Time; In Sorrow; Snap.

Personnel: Charles Gayle: tenor saxophone, viola; William Parker: bass, cello, half-size violin; Vattel Cherry: kalimba, bells; Michael Wimberly: drums.

The Last Dances

Tracks: Oh Shit; Slow Dance; Bow Dance; Dusk.

Personnel: William Parker: bass; Hamid Drake: drums; Anders Gahnold: alto sax.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Blues Deluxe 2 Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe 2
by Doug Collette
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient Africa" and Oliver Lake and Joseph Bowie's "Live at A Space 1976" Multiple Reviews Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 2, 2017
Read Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out Multiple Reviews Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out
by Chris Mosey
Published: May 28, 2017
Read Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space Multiple Reviews Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago" Multiple Reviews Dan Phillips Returns To Chicago
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Jeremy Monteiro & Eugene Pao: To Paris With Love,  A Tribute to the Genius of Michel Legrand / Jeremy Monteiro & Jazz Brazileiro: Brazilian Dreams" Multiple Reviews Jeremy Monteiro & Eugene Pao: To Paris With Love, A...
by Ian Patterson
Published: August 2, 2016
Read "Anat Cohen's Brazilian Bonanza: Outra Coisa and Rosa Dos Ventos" Multiple Reviews Anat Cohen's Brazilian Bonanza: Outra Coisa and Rosa...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 17, 2017
Read "Three saxophonists very different paths since "Propagations"" Multiple Reviews Three saxophonists very different paths since...
by John Eyles
Published: November 23, 2016
Read "Blue Side of Lonesome: Country Crooners on BGO" Multiple Reviews Blue Side of Lonesome: Country Crooners on BGO
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 23, 2016
Read "Duke Ellington on Storyville Records" Multiple Reviews Duke Ellington on Storyville Records
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 20, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.