William Hooker Quintet | featuring Adam Lane | Channels of Consciousness | No Business Records

Adam Lane – bass | Dave Ross – guitar | Chris DiMeglio – trumpet | Sanga – percussion | William Hooker – drums

All music by William Hooker (WILLIAM HOOKER MUSIC, BMI). Recorded on 27th March, 2010 at Roulette, NYC. Mixed and matered by Arūnas Zujus at MAMAstudios. Cover photo by Peter Gannushkin / DOWNTOWNMUSIC.NET. Design by Oskaras Anosovas. Produced by Danas Mikailionis. Co-producer – Valerij Anosov

Track list: 1. The Unfolding 2. Compelling Influences 3. Thought and Intention 4. Lower Interlude 5. Character 6. Connected 7. Three Hexagons 8. Mother’s History (untold)

William Hooker

(born 1946) is an American jazz drummer and composer. Early in his career, he played with the Isley Brothers and Dionne Warwick, among others. In college, Hooker began broadening his musical vision: He wrote a paper on Alban Berg, and befriended some members of Funkadelic.

A move to New York City in the mid-1970s led Hooker to the so-called “loft scene” of adventurous free jazz performers. While Hooker was active in music throughout the 1980s, he was little recorded until the 1990s.

While most of Hooker’s output is rooted in free jazz, critic Neil Strauss has written, “William Hooker is a man determined to get his music ‘out there’, and he’ll cross any genre to do it.” His work has also crossed over into noise rock and free improvisation.

He has worked with Glenn Spearman, Christian Marclay, Tomaas Proitsis, DJ Olive, William Parker, Sabir Mateen, Dave Soldier, and Sonic Youth founders Thurston Moore, and Lee Ranaldo.

Discography

  • …Is Eternal Life (1982)
  • Brighter Lights (1986)
  • Lifeline (1988)
  • The Firmament Fury (1989)
  • Shamballa – Duets with Thurston Moore and Elliott Sharp (1993)
  • Envisioning (1994)
  • Joy (Within)! (1994)
  • Radiation (1994)
  • Armageddon (1995)
  • Gift of Tongues (1995)
  • Heat of the Light (Dream Sequences) (1996)
  • Tibet (1996)
  • Mindfulness (1997)
  • The Distance Between Us (1999)
  • Bouquet: Live at the Knitting Factory 4.23.99 (2000)
  • Black Mask (2002)
  • Out Trios, Vol. 1: Monsoon (2003)
  • Yearn for Certainty (2010)

This exciting and surprising album

was recorded live in March, 2010 at Roulette in New York City. Featuring William Hooker on drums, the band consists of Adam Lane on bass, Dave Ross on guitar, Chris DiMeglio on trumpet and Sanga on percussion. The music is quite exciting and powerful with a great deal of rhythmic control, especially from the powerful drum and percussion team. The musicians run together in a vortex of seething power broken only by a member stepping outside of the maelstrom for a solo or for Hooker’s stream of consciousness poetry. Drums, bass and percussion come together like waves of greater or lesser density, moving the music inexorably forward. The interesting front line of guitar and trumpet works really well together, alternately powerful and svelte. The individual instruments have a range of internal air space allowing Lane’s bass to be one of the prime movers in the music’s forward motion, creating a big, spatially open sound.– Tim Niland

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3 thoughts on “William Hooker Quintet | featuring Adam Lane | Channels of Consciousness | No Business Records

  1. On the face of it the title couldn’t be more apt, as drummer William Hooker leads his four accomplices through an organically unfurling invention fashioned from their collective streams of consciousness. But a closer listen betrays signs of premeditation, not least in trumpeter Chris DiMeglio’s wistful reiterated motif which reappears at regular junctures during the continuous 68-minute performance. Other evidence comes from the presence of an overarching form, as intricate drum and percussion grooves bookend the piece captured live at Roulette in March 2010. That’s not a surprise as experience suggests that Hooker marshals his resources to engender a strong sense of structure in whatever he does.

    While the first few minutes of “The Unfolding” evince a purposeful intent, as Sanga’s percussion thrives in the cracks between the leader’s rumbling cadences, it doesn’t take long before they are engulfed in a maelstrom of activity. DiMeglio’s repeated phrases serve to ratchet up the tension, while guitarist Dave Ross’ percussive scratchy lines add another layer of urgent complexity. Not until “Character” does the intensity let up, and some of the best moments ensue, as Ross breaks out a passage of wailing slide guitar, encouraged by Hooker’s exhortations to “Talk to me.” As with many of the drummer’s works, the expression is not solely limited to music. In this instance the liners explain that the piece was inspired by American author Richard Wright’s unfinished novel A Father’s Law, and the subsequent recitation lands somewhere between poetry and plot summary.

    Further light and shade follows in “Three Hexagons,” as DiMeglio embarks upon a sequence of aching variations on the sparse thematic material, over a reflective timbral exchange. Bassist Adam Lane comes to the fore early in “Mother’s History (untold)” belying a soliloquy of creaking arco atmospherics, before drum rolls signal a gradual ramping up of pressure as they move towards the explosive conclusion. While the passion and energy are unquestioned, some may find the stretches of unremitting power insufficiently differentiated, in which case Hooker’s undoubted talents may be easier to appreciate in a more open setting, and in that regard Earth’s Orbit (NoBusiness, 2010) by the drummer’s Bliss Trio remains pre-eminent.

  2. If you wonder what drummer-composer-bandleader William Hooker has been doing lately you can find out with the noteworthy new album Channels of Consciousness (No Business NBCD 52). A well-rounded, speak-to-me avant quintet prevails, live at NYC’s famed Roulette venue.

    Adam Lane is on acoustic bass, and he’s his usual excellent self; Chris DeMeglio puts a distinctive voice to the trumpet chair; Dave Ross adds lots of color and chops on acoustic guitar; Sanga plays some hot percussion, sounds like mostly congas; and of course Maestro Hooker leads and creates from the drums.

    This is a band with no shortage of ideas, where the front liners of trumpet and guitar meld most productively with the solo frontage abilities of the rhythm section.

    The compositions (by Hooker) set the tone. The band catches a wave of fire and keeps riding until the CD ends. Hooker has that structured freedom drumming of his very own and shows it here in an excellent setting, and everybody gets on it!

    Excellent session. It’s Hooker at his very best with one band I hope we hear more of. Get it!

  3. This 2010 set was captured at New York City’s Roulette. Prior to its November 2011 move into a larger 400-seat theatre in Brooklyn, Roulette was a tiny loft space in lower Manhattan, seating under 100 new-music aficionados. The evening must have been an overwhelming experience for the fortunate few who witnessed it live.

    While the concert is structured into two parts separated by an interlude, the music flows continually. Each section has a distinct mood, the first three tracks exploding with frenzied free-jazz force. Drummer William Hooker is built for power, and with over 30 years experience in the experimental music underground, deftly plays around the beat, erecting pulsating walls of pounding sound. Somehow finding the few holes within that barrage, percussionist Sanga rockets the beats per second and cross rhythm meter to uncountable dimensions.

    If those waves were not crushing enough, guitarist Dave Ross does his best to conjure the spirits of the late Sonny Sharrock. Ross matches the percussive onslaught with slash and burn left-hand slides and trilling right-hand picking, continuously hitting and retreating from volcanic peaks. Bassist Adam Lane alternates arco drones with fast and free pizzicato, while trumpeter Chris DiMeglio adds further flourishes to the fire.

    It’s tempting to describe the obliterating propulsion of the first 30 minutes by evoking Sharrock’s Last Exit, which was driven by the equally relentless drum and bass duo of Ronald Shannon Jackson and Bill Laswell. Yet the second half of the concert proves that Hooker is capable of more than just primo energy blasts.

    “Lower Interlude” is a three-minute drum and percussion duet, a whirling mix of souped-up African and Cuban polyrhythms that maintains the momentum of the first set. Following that, however, “Character” gradually cools things down, leading to Hooker’s recitation of a poem about family interrelations, the theme continued on the closing “Mother’s History (untold).” In between are two churning instrumentals, featuring slow trumpet lines and simmering slide guitar runs, backed by quiet rolling toms punctuated with hand percussion. The heat is thus maintained in a manner different from the pre-interlude barn-burning.

    Chances are you were not at the Roulette that evening, but that doesn’t matter. Close your eyes and immerse yourself in the next best thing.

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