Billy Bang | William Parker | Medicine Buddha | No Business Records

Billy Bang was a brilliant human being, always much more than himself, especially when he surrendered to his true calling—that of musician, one who transforms music into magic, dancing instead of walking, jumping instead standing still. Billy Bang was an American original, an original musician, an organic person who had tapped into the river of sound and was riding on a boat drenched in blues-soul-funk and space. — William Parker Continue reading

Udu Calls Trio feat. William Parker | The Vancouver Tapes | Long Song Records

A lost and found gem documenting the first meeting ever of two Italian avant jazz masters with the NY jazz bass giant. Totally live and improvised! Tiziano Tononi says: “Rockin’ the Vaults…sometimes you know, sometimes you don’t, what you find may become a great deal of a surprise, and this time we found out something very unusual like a mini-disc recording!!! What’s that? I’m pretty sure some people don’t even know what a mini disc was, anyway the music contained herein still sounded fresh and surprising after a few years, so I say to myself “why not?”, and here we are! Years after the Long Song Record “Smoke Inside” we got the smokin’ side of a joyful, powerful and subtle trio of characters, praising the Gods of music and improvisation through instruments tuned on a common language, burning, that night in Vancouver, the wall/bridges of the distance from Milano to New York. Continue reading

Melodic Art-Tet | No Business Records

Although according to detractors, all free-jazz sessions sound alike, these high-quality dates from 1974 and 1986 put a lie to that supposition. Both also suggest why the music was never popular. Each CD shares trumpeter Ahmed Abdullah and features all stars. 1974’s Melodic Art-Tet included reedist Charles Brackeen, drummer Roger Blank, bassist William Parker and percussionist Tony Waters (Ramadan Mumeen). 1986’s The Group was saxophonist Marion Brown, violinist Billy Bang, bassists Sirone or Fred Hopkins plus drummer Andrew Cyrille. —Ken Waxman Continue reading

Sabir Mateen | William Parker | Matthew Shipp | Gerald Cleaver | Denis Lavant | Declared Enemy | Salute To 100001 Stars | A Tribute To Jean Genet | RogueArt Jazz

It was by chance, during his short stay in Paris in 2000 that Matthew Shipp came across Rajak Ohanian’s photograph of Jean Genet. He instantly recognized the writer, saying “Our Lady of The Flowers is one of my favourite books.” And that’s how it all started. Four years later, he brought together Sabeer Mateen, William Parker and Gerald Cleaver to express what Genet meant to him. Then, Denis Lavant joined them to add Genet’s words to the project. In his lifetime, Jean Genet had no real connections with Jazz but he did share with past and present Jazz inventors the same source of inspiration: the life of the underdogs. From yesterday’s slavery to today’s prisons and ghettos, Afro-Americans know too what confinement means. Just like Genet’s works are a menace to the Establishment, Jazz always gets out of the clutches of any force in power, despite so many takeover attempts. And it so happens that Jean Genet’s path crosses the ones of Matthew Shipp, Sabir Mateen, William Parker, Gerald Cleaver or Denis Lavant. Therefore, Declared Enemy’s music can eventually meet Genet’s works. A dialog takes place between music and words, fierce or tactful, always respectful, never complacent. The recording took place on a December the 19th. Nobody knew it was Jean Genet’s birthday. There is no such thing as chance. — Michel Dorbon Continue reading

Steve Swell’s Fire Into Music | Swimming In A Galaxy Of Goodwill And Sorrow | RogueArt Jazz

This is an album to be cherished because it reaches back and incorporates styles from swing to post-modern free jazz; and because the playing of Steve Swell and the members of his quartet are as near-perfect as you are likely to find; and because the melodies capture the imagination with a complex beauty that hooks into the inner being of soulfulness. It encompasses a unity of elements that comes as close as possible to the transcendental poignancy to which great art often aspires. As a trombonist, Steve Swell is about as good as it gets, and few can match his original fusion of technique and emotion, with obvious influences as diverse as Jack Teagarden, Grachan Moncur, III, and Roswell Rudd… …Swell’s extended performance here is one of the most impressive on disk by a trombonist in any era. Swell is on to something, though, and so are his colleagues, because unsung alto saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc is unassailable and on top of his game, his original, searing sound fused to an architectural structure reminiscent of Georges Braque; and percussionist Hamid Drake and bassist William Parker constitute the ultimate rhythmic pair, New Trier seizes Bed-Stuy with nary a missed beat. It does mean a thing, Duke, and it swings and it doesn’t, and Agnon might say it laughs when it speaks and it speaks when it laughs – but the point ain’t about theorizing, anyhow, but enjoyment here and there, and there and here. — Steven Loewy, excerpt from the liner notes Continue reading

William Parker Double Quartet | Alphaville Suite | RogueArt Jazz

I first saw Jean Luc Godard’s Alphaville on American television in the early 1970’s. It didn’t take long for me to realize that Alphaville wasn’t just another science fiction spy thriller; it was really a wake up call to modern society to be vigilant… …It has always been my dream write to a piece of music inspired by this great film. The plan was to have a double quartet, one quartet made up of strings (Julia Kent, and Shiau-Shu Yu cello, Jessica Pavone viola, and Mazz Swift violin). The other quartet is the regular working band of Rob Brown, alto sax, Lewis Barnes, trumpet and Hamid Drake, drums. I read the films screenplay and bought the DVD of the film to refresh my memory. Then I began to write the music, ending up with 15 compositions each one capturing a different aspect of the movie. The concept was to create an alternative soundtrack that could possibly be used in the film. While at the same time have a life of it’s own as concert music. Due to time restraints we only could record about half the music. Eight musicians blending as one while at the same time not giving up their individuality. — William Parker, excerpt from the liner notes Continue reading

Hamid Drake & Bindu | Blissful | RogueArt Jazz

…The music improvised by Drake, Abrams, Alexander, Morris, Parker and Parker is getting close. The music improvised by the second incarnation of Bindu is also a trance music: so is its rhythm of growth, the crossroad. The music can only grow, propagate waves, navigate through forms. Dance upon the laying body of cinder-covered structures. Everything is good to it, nothing dictates its behavior. The music improvises what it needs, summons the worlds it needs, within the flow of inter-play, Kâlî’s way of playing. Our rebirth; our voodoo. Everything darkens; everything brightens. The music gives out names, one by one. Love. Life. Love. Her. Even Heaven. Around the names and the bodies dismembered by Kâlî, the alphabet is not only divided up into vowels and consonants, but in masculine and feminine letters, lit up. Agni’s seventh tongue…– Alexandre Pierrepont, excerpt from the liner notes Continue reading