Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

383

William Parker: Live at the Sunset, In Transition, Live at Dunois, Double Sunrise over Neptune

By

Sign in to view read count








Other Dimensions in Music
Live at the Sunset
Marge Records
2008


Collective 4tet
In Transition
Leo Records
2009


Joelle Leandre & William Parker
Live at Dunois
Leo Records
2009


William Parker
Double Sunrise over Neptune
Aum Fidelity
2008


Bassist and composer William Parker has been a driving force in New York's modern jazz community since the early '70s. Nearly 40 years onward, Parker is an organizer as well as a vital link to the under-documented history of loft jazz and post-Coltrane New York improvisational music, not to mention a collaborator with a wide range of American and European free players. Four recent discs capture Parker both as a bandleader and duet partner, as well as in a tremendous cooperative and supporting role.

Other Dimensions in Music (ODIM) is one of Parker's longest-running affiliations, dating back to the dissolution of altoist Jemeel Moondoc's Muntu in the early '80s. Parker, trumpeter Roy Campbell, Jr. and drummer Rashid Bakr had been working in Muntu since the mid '70s and, after Moondoc left to pursue other ventures, multi-instrumentalist Daniel Carter was brought in to fill the gap. Recently, Hamid Drake has been brought in to substitute for Bakr. The double-disc Live at the Sunset, recorded at the Parisian venue, is only the fourth release to document this ensemble. Previous sets like Now! (AUM Fidelity, 1998) presented lengthy and colorful collective improvisations where clear signposts developed from within, a secret language known only to the group members. Live at the Sunset brings more obvious thematic elements to the table, tunes that flow into the next in a rousing, seamless kaleidoscope rather than continual, subtle ebb and drift. Stratospheric, smeared clarions from pocket trumpet and alto saxophone might on the surface have little in common with titular references to Slam Stewart, Louis Armstrong, Cootie Williams and Miles Davis, but the sort of freedom engendered by ODIM is one that can call upon funeral marches and jubilee shouts as easily as Africanized tone-rows and triple-time barnstorming.

The second longest-running association represented here is between Parker and pianist Mark Hennen, who worked together in an early edition of Muntu. The Collective 4tet joins the pair with trumpeter Art Brooks (like Hennen, also a Bill Dixon student) and Swiss-born drummer Heinz Geisser on In Transition, their first disc since the death of trombonist Jeff Hoyer in 2006; they've been active as a unit since 1994. Despite the affinities and pedigrees of the individual musicians, they mostly shy away from the tropes that define much of creative improvisation. This is especially true of Hennen, the pianist's architectural blocks, flourishes and clunks having little to do with the Cecil Taylor axis, dealing much more in sparse explosions easily tempered than volcanic runs and interlocking cells. Brooks' language certainly has a direct line to Dixon as soloist—screaming between tones, a sort of piercing duskiness on "Clear Skies" that sounds like little else in the brass pantheon. However, his phrasing is a bit more diffuse, his low blats and harrier squalls, while unabashedly physical, are as much textural grayscale to the whole. Parker is, of course, the rock to all three group improvisations here, lending motion and framing to the lapping of tonal spikes and caresses.

Parker and French bassist Joelle Leandre, in some respects, could not be more different—the latter was initially noted for her interpretations of the music of Giacinto Scelsi and John Cage and could be the contemporary analog to wood-and-string sound artists like Fernando Grillo. Sometimes collaborations based on the antithetical are among the most intriguing, however, and that's clearly the case on Live at Dunoís, the pair's second recorded meeting (Contrebasses was their first, released in 1998 and also on Leo). Parker sets a throaty walk on the first piece (all six are untitled), reconfiguring and giving a sense of swing to the mass and emotional immediacy meted out by Leandre's guttural bow and impulsive thwacks. Boppish lines dancing around high-pitched arco squall are, after all, part of what made Henry Grimes and Alan Silva work so well in Cecil Taylor's ensemble and though Parker and Léandre are certainly different animals, there's a strong current provided by oil and water, as wordless chants and meaty triple stops pool and intertwine with plucked bounce.

Partly recorded at the 2007 Vision Festival, Double Sunrise Over Neptune is an extraordinary, epic departure from the sprawling landscapes documented within Parker's Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra, focusing instead on Indian and North African textures, a 21st century collision of Don Cherry, Ahmed Abdul-Malik and the Celestrial Communications Orchestra. In addition to traditional brass, strings and woodwinds, the 16-piece group features oud player Brahim Fribgane, vocalist Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay and Bill Coleman on musette. Parker himself plays both musette and the Malian six-stringed lute or doson ngoni. "Lights of Lake George" struts with oud, bass and both frame and trap drums at the outset, musettes storming in like a swarm, floating atop the ensemble and buoyed by the tonal carpet of strings. Wordless vocals rise out from the canvas only to subside and be replaced by Jason Kao Hwang's dervish violin, flecked by oud, Joe Morris' banjo and subtly fragmenting rhythmic blocks. Meditative passages abound, but even the delicately sonorous sections are only temporary housings for sound before both searing storms and stately expositions arise. Too honest to be an 'experiment,' it will be interesting to see where Parker's frameworks and collaborations take the music next.


Tracks and Personnel

Live at the Sunset

Tracks: CD1: Announcement; Other Dimensional Space Travelers; Hip Box; Blues Configuration; Slam Me Down (for Slam Stewart); Afro Caribbean High Life; Blues for Baghdad; Desert Dance. CD2: Blues for Iraq; New Millennium Chaos (the Bush Reign of Terror); Funk the Government/The Betrayal of New Orleans/Hurricane Katrina; Suite for Miles Davis; For Louis, Cootie and Lester; Song of Hope and Peace for the Future of Humanity; Call for the Gathering of All the Righteous and Spiritual People; James Brown Ascension.

Personnel: William Parker: bass, musette; Daniel Carter: alto saxophone, trumpet and flute; Roy Campbell, Jr.: trumpet, flugelhorn, pocket trumpet, shepherd's pipes, recorder and flute; Hamid Drake: drums and frame drum.

In Transition

Tracks: In Transition; Clear Skies; For a Change.

Personnel: William Parker: bass; Heinz Geisser: drums; Arthur Brooks: trumpet and flugelhorn; Mark Hennen: piano.

Live at Dunois

Tracks: Duo 1; Duo 2; Duo 3; Duo 4; Duo 5; Duo 6.

Personnel: Joelle Leandre: bass and voice; William Parker: bass and voice.

Double Sunrise over Neptune

Tracks: Morning Mantra; Lights of Lake George; O'Neal's Bridge; Neptune's Mirror.

Personnel: William Parker: musette, donso n'goni, conductor; Lewis Barnes: trumpet; Bill Cole: musette; Rob Brown: alto saxophone; Sabir Mateen: tenor saxophone and clarinet; Dave Sewelson: baritone saxophone; Jason Kao Hwang and Mazz Swift: violin; Jessica Pavone: viola; Shiau-Shu Yu: cello; Shayna Dulberger: bass; Joe Morris: guitar and banjo; Brahim Frigbane: oud; Gerald Cleaver: drums; Hamid Drake: frame drum; Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay: voice.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read The Possibilities of Percussion: Yarn/Wire & ensemble, et. al Multiple Reviews The Possibilities of Percussion: Yarn/Wire & ensemble,...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 12, 2017
Read Holiday Roundup 2017 Multiple Reviews Holiday Roundup 2017
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 11, 2017
Read Old, Borrowed and Just a Little Blue Multiple Reviews Old, Borrowed and Just a Little Blue
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 11, 2017
Read Another Timbre Celebrates Its First Decade Multiple Reviews Another Timbre Celebrates Its First Decade
by John Eyles
Published: December 9, 2017
Read Ivo Perelman Makes It Rain Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman Makes It Rain
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 12, 2017
Read Jazz from the US Virgin Islands' new breed Multiple Reviews Jazz from the US Virgin Islands' new breed
by Nigel Campbell
Published: November 4, 2017
Read "Holiday Roundup 2017" Multiple Reviews Holiday Roundup 2017
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 11, 2017
Read "Clouds and Stormy Nights: A New Pair from QFTF" Multiple Reviews Clouds and Stormy Nights: A New Pair from QFTF
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 19, 2016
Read "Pi Recordings 2016 Releases" Multiple Reviews Pi Recordings 2016 Releases
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio" Multiple Reviews Ivo Perelman: The Art of the Improv Trio
by Jim Trageser
Published: January 4, 2017
Read "Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…" Multiple Reviews Weekertoft Hits Its Stride…
by John Eyles
Published: January 7, 2017
Read "The Pianist as Director: Ryuichi Sakamoto and August Rosenbaum" Multiple Reviews The Pianist as Director: Ryuichi Sakamoto and August...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 13, 2017

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!