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William Parker: Sound Unity & Two Masters & Mass for the Healing of the World

Jeff Stockton By

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William Parker Quartet
Sound Unity
AUM Fidelity
2005

Recorded live in Montreal and Vancouver during the William Parker Quartet's tour in the summer of 2004, Sound Unity doesn't pack the same startling punch as the the group's first release, 2001's O'Neal's Porch (AUM Fidelity), but this pianoless quartet, with its blend of tight inside and out playing, demon-possessed solos, and relentless groove delivers like no other band in jazz. Rob Brown's keening alto still pervades, perfectly complemented and urged on by trumpeter Lewis Barnes. Meanwhile, the indomitable rhythm section of bassist Parker and drummer Hamid Drake shifts gears and adjust tempo with the subtlety and precision of an atomic clock.

Bill Cole & William Parker
Two Masters: Live at the Prism
Boxholder
2005

Parker is one of Two Masters, in an altogether different setting with double-reed specialist Bill Cole. Parker largely plays bass in Cole's Untempered Ensemble, but here he draws from an array of exotic Eastern and African instruments for six meditative and exploratory duets. On the opening "Angels in Golden Mud, Parker's lovely doson ngoni resonates like a harp cut from oak. "Election Funeral Dance begins frenetically but morphs into a mournful wailing dirge for two voices. Each improvisation in this concert combines tonal textures in a successful bid to revitalize through the healing qualities of music.

William Parker and the Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra
Mass for the Healing of the World
Black Saint
2005

Concerts by William Parker's Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra are massive, lumbering affairs, as if Pithecanthropus Erectus were to stir, get up off all fours, walk, run a little, pause to catch his breath, and drift off again to sleep. The music is large and unwieldy but stirring, multilayered with rhythm, melody and improvisation, and ambitious in its attempt to produce a whole greater than its parts. Mass, recorded live in Verona, Italy in 1998, presents Little Huey when it was built around Parker's core band of drummer Susie Ibarra and pianist Cooper-Moore, irrepressible in this context and crucial to the shifting moods. Picture Mingus leading the Arkestra.


Tracks and Personnel

Sound Unity

Tracks: Hawaii; Wood Flute Song; Poem for June Jordan; Sound Unity; Harlem; Groove.

Personnel: Lewis Barnes: trumpet; Hamid Drake: drums; William Parker: bass; Rob Brown: alto.

Two Masters: Live at the Prism

Tracks: 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, flute, sona, shehnai, nageswaram, hojok, voice; William Parker: bass, doson ngoni, flute; nageswaram, dunno, whistle, voice.

Mass for the Healing of the World

Tracks: Invocation; First Reading (Dawn Song); Hallelujah; Mysticism; Response (Muezzin's Call); Second Reading (Cathedral in the Mountains); Willows (Can You Give Me Back My Life); Cantos (Love God).

Personnel: William Parker, bass, pocket trumpet; Rob Brown, Marco Eneidi, alto sax; Chris Jonas, soprano sax; Darryl Foster, tenor and soprano sax; Assif Tshar, tenor sax, bass clarinet; Dave Sewelson, baritone sax; Alex Lodico, Masaiko Kono, trombone; Roy Campbell, Lewis Barnes, Richard Rodriguez, trumpet; Dave Hofstra, tuba; Cooper Moore, piano; Susie Ibarra, drums, tympani; Aleta Heyes, vocals.


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