MUSIC INSPIRED BY THE JEAN-LUC GODARD FILM
William Parker: double bass | Rob Brown: alto saxophone | Lewis Barnes: trumpet | Hamid Drake: drum set | Mazz Swift: violon | Jessica Pavone: viola | Julia Kent: cello | Shiau-Shu Yu: cello | Leena Conquest (special guest): vocals
Recorded on January 4th & 5th 2007 par Anthony Ruotolo at Leon Lee Dorsey Studio (New York, Ny, USA). Mixing: Anthony Ruotolo. Mastering: Jean-Pierre Bouquet. Liner notes: William Parker. Photographs: Lorna Lentini. Producer: Michel Dorbon
Tracklist: 1. Alphaville Main Theme (6.02) 2. Journey to the End of the Night (11) 3. Natasha’s Theme I (2.05) 4. Interrogation (2.50) 5. Alpha 60 (9.45) 6. Doctor Badguy (14.08) 7. Oceanville Evening (3.05) 8. Civilization of Light (16.49) 9. Outlands (6.57) 10. Natasha’s Theme II (2.08)
All compositions by William Parker
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
William Parker | Photo by Lorna Lentini
The great thing about William Parker
is that he doesn’t stop looking for new approaches to music, as long as they’re acoustic and based on genuine interplay between real musicians. On this CD he brings a double quartet, his usual band consisting of himself on bass, Rob Brown on alto sax, Lewis Barnes on trumpet and Hamid Drake on drums, augmented with Mazz Sqift on violin, Jessica Pavone on viola, Julia Kent on cello and Shiau-Shu Yu on cello. Leena Conquest guests on vocals on “Natasha’s Theme” and “Natasha’s Theme 2”. Or, if you want, a male quartet and a female quartet.
Like Matthew Shipp’s tribute to Jean Genet on the French RogueArt label, this one is a tribute to and inspired by another great French piece of art, Jean-Luc Godard’s movie “Alphaville”. In this movie, the futuristic city Alphaville is dominated by the logic of computers and ruled by an evil scientist named Von Braun, who has outlawed love and self-expression. And “love and self-expression” are of course themes close to Parker’s heart and they have permeated his career and art.
Adding the string quartet helps to evocate the music of the film itself, with the eery tension and typical movie suspense full of romantic drama and sentimental outbursts. But the strings here are luckily more modern, more avant-garde, offering a great contrast with the free jazz musicians, sometimes limiting themselves to pizzicato chattering in the background, sometimes driving heavy unisono lines accentuating the jazz solos, with an especially gloomy and menacing counterpoint in the long “Dr. Badguy”. The overall effect is utterly bizarre, creating a kind of busyness which is too much to grasp at once, because there is too much going on, but still in a coherent way, following its own logic. The jazz dominates, and it’s great as you can expect from these artists and there are times, especially in the longer pieces that the strings let them do their thing, leaving some breathing space, but never for long : there they are again, to chase the jazz quartet forward, jabb it in the sides, kick it back, emphasize it, play along in moments of frenzy, move it to weird territory, or offer shades and an overall darkness that is highly unusual, to say the least. Without specifically saying that the string quartet would represent the cold futuristic logic of the evil scientist and the jazz band the proponents of love and free expression (or female vs male :-), at least the tension between good and bad and the overall mood of the film is well-captured by the concept of the double band. And the music is excellent to. Like Parker’s “Requiem”, this is one you should listen to often before you can appreciate it to the full. — Stef
CD version (incl. shipment cost world-wide)