William Parker

(Copyright © 2015 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
Krentz Ratings:
Through Acceptance of the Mystery Peace (1979), 5.5/10
In Order to Survive (1993), 5.5/10
Song Cycle (1993), 5.5/10
Testimony (1994), 6/10
Flowers Grow in My Room (1994), 5/10
Sunrise in the Tone World (1995), 5/10
Compassion Seizes Bed-Stuy (1995), 5.5/10
Contrabasses (1996), 5.5/10
Lifting the Sanctions (1997), 6/10
The Peach Orchard (1998), 6/10
Posium Pendasem (1998), 5.5/10
Mass for the Healing of the World (1998), 5/10
Emancipation Suite #1 (1999), 5.5/10
Fractured Dimensions (1999), 5/10
The All-Star Game (2000), 5/10
Painters Spring (2000), 7/10
O'Neal's Porch (2001), 7/10
Raincoat in the River Vol. 1 (2001), 5/10
The Cosmosamatics (2001), 5/10
Spontaneous (2002), 5/10
Lue's Lantern (2004), 5/10
Requiem (2004), 5.5/10
For Percy Health (2006), 5/10
Corn Meal Dance (2007), 5.5/10
Great Spirit (2007), 5/10
Double Sunrise Over Neptune (2007), 5.5/10
Farmers by Nature (2008), 5.5/10
At Somewhere There (2008), 6/10
Medicine Buddha (2009), 6.5/10
Winter Sun Crying (2009), 5/10
Crumbling in the Shadows is Fraulein Miller's Stale Cake (2010), 6.5/10
Out of this World's Distortions (2010), 6/10
Song for a New Decade (2010), 5.5/10
Love and Ghosts (2011), 6.5/10
Conversations (2011), 5/10
Book of Sound (2013), 5/10
Pomegranate (2013), 5/10
For Those Who Are Still (2013), 7.5/10
Telling Stories (2014), 5.5/10
Ao No Fabrica (2015), 6/10
Song Sentimentale (2015), 6/10
Counteract This Turmoil Like Trees and Birds (2015), 5.5/10
Between the Tumbling A Stillness (2015), 6/10
This is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People (2015), 5.5/10
Meditation Resurrection (2016), 7/10
Frode Gjerstad With Hamid Drake And William Parker (2017), 6/10
Celebrating William Parker @ 65 (2017), 5/10
Seraphic Light (2017), 5/10
Lake of Light: Compositions for Aquasonics (2017), 5.5/10
Voices Fall from the Sky (2017), 5.5/10
Music for a Free World (2017), 5/10
Live/Shapeshifter (2017), 5.5/10
Flower In A Stained-Glass Window & The Blinking Of The Ear (2018), 5/10
What If? (2019), 5/10
Symbolic Reality (2019), 5/10
Migration Of Silence (2020):
Disc 1 Blue Limelight 5/10
Disc 2 Child of Sound 4/10
Disc 3 The Majesty of Jah 4/10
Disc 4 Cheops 6.5/10
Disc 5 Harlem Speaks 6/10
Disc 6 Mexico 7/10
Disc 7 Afternoon Poem 4/10
Disc 8 Lights In The Rain 7/10
Disc 9 The Fastest Train 6.5/10
Disc 10 Manzanar 7/10

New York's bassist William Parker, a fixture of David Ware's quartet and Matthew Shipp's various ensembles, had seldom recorded on his own starting with Through Acceptance Of The Mystery Peace (january 1979), that featured Daniel Carter (saxes, flutes and trumpet), Charles Brackeen (tenor sax), Will Connell Jr. (alto sax and flute), Peter Kuhn and Rozanne Levine (clarinets), Arthur Williams (trumpet), Toshinori Kondo (alto horn), Polly Bradfield, Billy Bang and Jason Kao Hwang (violins), Tristan Honsinger (cello), Ellen Christi (vocals) and Denis Charles (drums).

After collaborations with Shipp, Peter Broetzmann, Derek Bailey, and Charles Gayle, Parker recorded the live In Order To Survive (june 1993), with Rob Brown (alto sax), Denis Charles and Jackson Krall (drums), Cooper-Moore (piano), Grachan Moncur III (trombone) and Lewis Barnes (trumpet).

Testimony (december 1994), containing the 23-minute improvisation Sonic Animation, and Lifting The Sanctions (november 1997) were solo albums.

The live Flowers Grow In My Room (july 1994), credited to the Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra, featured Billy Bang (cello and violin), seven saxophonists, two bassists, another cellist, three trombonists, three trumpetists, plus drums, tuba and vibraphone. The same orchestra recorded Sunrise In The Tone World (february 1995) with Vinny Golia on reeds and Roy Campbell on trumpet and flugelhorn; Raincoat In The River Vol.1 (febraury 2001); Mass For The Healing Of The World (may 1998); Spontaneous (may 2002); and For Percy Heath (october 2006).

Peter Brotzmann (reeds), Milford Graves (drums, vocals, dancing) and William Parker (bass, Doussn'Gouni) recorded the four side-long pieces of Historic Music Past Tense Future (march 2002).

His quartet with Cooper-Moore (piano), Rob Brown (alto sax) and Susie Ibarra (drums) began to be called In Order To Survive starting with Compassion Seizes Bed-Stuy (december 1995), followed by The Peach Orchard (august 1998), that includes the 25-minute Leaf Dance, and Posium Pendasem (april 1998).

Parker collaborated with Joe Morris, Ivo Perelman, Hamid Drake, Peter Kowald, Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton, and many others, and recorded duets with Joelle Leandre on Contrabasses (january 1996) as well as duets with Hamid Drake.

Song Cycle (sessions of october 1991 and march 1993) featured Yuko Fujiyama on piano and two vocalists.

The Cosmosamatics (february 2001) were Sonny Simmons, Michael Marcus, William Parker and Jay Rosen.

The live Emancipation Suite #1 (may 1999) was a trio with Alan Silva (synthesizer) and Kidd Jordan (tenor sax).

The All-Star Game (december 2000) featured Marshall Allen (alto sax), Alan Silva (bass), Hamid Drake (drums) and Kidd Jordan (tenor sax).

Fractured Dimensions (november 1999) featured Daniel Carter on alto sax, trumpet, clarinet and flute, Alan Silva (synthesizer and piano) and Roy Campbell ( trumpet and flugelhorn).

Luc's Lantern (recorded in 2004) was a trio with Eri Yamamoto (piano) and Michael Thompson (drums).

Corn Meal Dance (january 2007) ,was performed by Hamid Drake (drums), Eri Yamamoto (piano), Rob Brown (alto sax), Lewis Barnes (trumpet), and Leena Conquest (vocals).

Double Sunrise Over Neptune (premiered in june 2007) featured Rob Brown (alto sax), Dave Sewelson (baritone sax), Shayna Dulberger (bass), Shiau-Shu Yu (cello), Gerald Cleaver and Hamid Drake (drums), Joe Morris (guitar and banjo), Brahim Frigbane (oud), Bill Cole (reeds), Sabir Mateen (tenor sax and clarinet), Lewis Barnes (trumpet), Jessica Pavone (viola), Jason Kao Hwang and Mazz Swift (violins), and Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay (vocals).

Farmers By Nature, i.e. the trio of drummer Gerald Cleaver, bassist William Parker and pianist Craig Taborn, recorded the live Farmers By Nature (june 2008), Out Of This World's Distortions (june 2010), containing Tait's Traced Traits, and the double-disc Love And Ghosts (june 2011), containing the lengthy Bisanz, Love and Ghosts and Comte.

Billy Bang and William Parker recorded Medicine Buddha (may 2009), that contains the 22-minute Medicine Buddha and the 14-minute Eternal Planet.

He played acoustic bass, kora and double flute on At Somewhere There (july 2008), notably the 48-minute Cathedral Wisdom Light.

Conversations (march 2011) collects solo performances.

Winter Sun Crying (december 2009) featured the ICI Ensemble.

The triple-disc box-set Crumbling In The Shadows Is Fraulein Miller's Stale Cake (august 2010) collected solo bass performances such as Stained Glass Sky with Dancing Light (21:23), Crumbling in the Shadows is Fraulein Miller's Stale Cake (19:18), Equador/Resolution (24:54), Night Density (13:19), and Double Mystery (17:35), as well as reissuing Testimony.

Book Of Sound (october 2013) was a trio with saxophonist Ivo Perelman and pianist Matthew Shipp.

Parker played contrabass violin, sintir and bass shakuhachi on Pomegranate (march 2013) by Parrhesia, the trio created by cornetist Stephen Haynes along with guitarist Joe Morris and percussionist Warren Smith.

The William Parker Bass Quartet, that also featured guest Charles Gayle, performed Requiem (may 2004), the final set of the 2004 Vision Festival.

The Sonoluminescence Trio (David Mott on baritone sax, William Parker on contrabass and Jesse Stewart on drums) debuted with Telling Stories (march 2014).

The triple-disc For Those Who Are Still contains material recorded over a dozen years, notably the 28-minute For Fannie Lou Hamer (october 2000) and the 20-minute The Giraffe Dances (january 2012) for small ensembles, the ten-part suite Ceremonies For Those Who Are Still (november 2013) for jazz trio and symphony orchestra and the 25-minute trio improvisation Escapade For Sonny (november 2013).

Song For A New Decade (recorded in january 2010 and june 2012) documents the trio of Parker, Andrew Cyrille (drums) and Finnish saxophonist and composer Mikko Innanen (alto and baritone saxes, Indian clarinet, Uilleann chanter, nose flute, whistles, percussion).

Raining on the Moon, featuring Rob Brown on alto sax, Lewis Barnes on trumpet, Eri Yamamoto on piano, Hamid Drake on drums and vocals by Leena Conquest debuted with Corn Meal Dance (january 2007) and Great Spirit (january 2007), both recorded during the same sessions.

William Parker Quartet's live 75-minute piece of Ao Vivo Na Fabrica (august 2015) featured Rob Brown on alto sax, Lewis Barnes on trumpet, and Hamid Drake on drums.

The double-disc set Song Sentimentale (january 2015) collects three live improvisations by the trio of Peter Broetzmann (tenor sax, clarinet, tarogato), William Parker (double bass, guembri, shakuhachi, shenai) and Hamid Drake (drums, frame drum, voice): Shake-A-Tear (11:40), Stone Death (26:17) and Dwellers In A Dead Land (24:58).

The trio Eloping With The Sun, with Joe Morris (guitar, banjouke, banjo, double bass, fiddle, pocket trumpet and whistles) and Hamid Drake (drum set, frame drum, cymbals, gongs), debuted on Counteract This Turmoil Like Trees And Birds (january 2015).

Toxic, consisting of Polish reed player Mat Walerian (alto sax, bass & soprano clarinets, flute), Matthew Shipp (piano, organ) and William Parker (double bass, shakuhachi), debuted with This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People (december 2015), notably the 20-minute The Breakfast Club Day.

The double-disc Meditation/Resurrection (december 2016) documents quartets with Hamid Drake (drums, gongs) Rob Brown (alto sax), Jalalu-Kalvert Nelson (trumpet, kalimba) and Cooper-Moore (piano).

The four-disc box-set Frode Gjerstad With Hamid Drake And William Parker (june 2017) contains four lengthy improvisations.

William Parker (bass), Steve Swell (trombone), drummer Muhammad Ali (Rashied Ali's brother), Dave Burrel (piano) and Diane Monroe (violin) contributed to Celebrating William Parker @ 65 (january 2017).

Seraphic Light (april 2017) documents a live improvisation with Daniel Carter (saxes, trumpet, flute and clarinet) and Matthew Shipp (piano).

Lake Of Light: Compositions For AquaSonics (february 2017) is a music for waterphones (played by Jeff Schlanger, Anne Humanfeld and Leonid Galaganov), mainly the lengthy Lake of Light.

The triple-disc Voices Fall From The Sky (january 2018) was recorded by a large ensemble and 17 singers.

Music For A Free World (september 2017) featured Dave Sewelson on baritone & sopranino saxes, Steve Swell on trombone, William Parker on contrabass and Marvin Bugaloo Smith on drums.

The double-disc Flower In A Stained-Glass Window & The Blinking Of The Ear collects 17 compositions. recorded in March 2017 and in June 2018.

In Between The Tumbling A Stillness (february 2015), containing the 36-minute In Between, documents improvisations by the trio of William Parker (bass), Hamid Drake (drums) and Israeli reedist Assif Tsahar.

In Order To Survive (Rob Brown on alto sax, Cooper-Moore on piano and Hamid Drake on drums) returned after 21 years with Live/ Shapeshifter (july 2017), notably Eternal Is The Voice Of Love.

What If? (june 2019) documents a collaboration with Nate Wooley.

The trio of Matthew Shipp, William Parker (bass) and Mat Maneri (viola) recorded Symbolic Reality (august 2019).

Garden Party (june 2018) debuted the Dopolarians with Alvin Fielder (percussion), Kidd Jordan (tenor sax), Christopher Parker (piano, voice) and Chad Fowler (alto sax, saxello).

Parker also played on baritone saxophonist Dave Sewelson's More Music For A Free World with Steve Swell (trombone) and Marvin Bugalu Smith (drums).

The ten-disc boxset Migration Of Silence/ Into And Out Of The Tone World (Centering, 2021), recorded between november 2018 and february 2020, collects 91 pieces performed with different lineups but generally around female singers.
The vocalist on Disc 1, Blue Limelight, is Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez, accompanied by Mara Rosenbloom on piano, Peter Dennis on bass, Scot Moore on violin, Reina Murooka on violin, Tina Burova on violin, Jim Ferraiuolo on oboe, Kevin Murray on drums, Jim Clouse on drums, and Jason Kao Hwang on violin. It mostly sounds like a tribute to funk-soul of the 1970s (Cosmic Funk, A Great Day to Be Dead). This disc is dedicated to Cecil Taylor but it's hard to see the connection.
Disc 2, Child of Sound, contains 14 brief piano solos (played by Eri Yamamoto), some of them with titles that refer to historical events (Malcolm's Smile and Trail of Tears I and II, dedicated to the plight of Native-American tribes).
The core of Disc 3, The Majesty of Jah, is spoken-word political lyrics (recited by Ellen Christie), some of them from James Baldwin, accompanied with trumpet (Jalalu-Kalvert Nelson) and percussion.
Disc 4, Cheops, is for vocals (Kyoko Kitamura), sometimes spoken and sometimes wordless, and an ensemble consisting of Matt Moran on vibes, Ben Stapp on tuba, Kayla Milmine-Abbott on sax, Rachel Housle on drums, and Parker on bass and flute. The highlight of this disc is If We Play Soft Enough (22:17) that matches abstract vocals with an eerie soundscape. Cheops (13:51) is dedicated to to trumpeter Roy Campbell. Harriott (12:51) is dedicated to saxophonist Joe Harriot.
Disc 5, Harlem Speaks, dedicated to the Harlem Renaissance, pits Fay Victor's vocals against a rhythm section (Hamid Drake's drums and Parker's bass). This yields long anemic compositions like Don't Sell My Soul (11:53), Harlem Dances (11:37) and Shutters as Windows (18:17),
Disc 6, Mexico, features an international cast of musicians (Brahim Fribgane on oud, Illay Sabag on piano, Jim Clouse on tenor sax, Matt Lavelle and Matt Lambiase on trumpets, Ohad Kapuya on bass, and several percussionists) around vocalist Jean Carla Rodea, and boasts an overtly political message. The highlights are Tilted Mirror (27:12) and Mexico (17:11), especially the former, the best multi-stylistic fusion of the set.
Disc 7, Afternoon Poem, consists of 16 poems by Parker performed mostly a cappella by Lisa Sokolo.
Disc 8, Lights In The Rain, dedicated to legendary Italian filmmakers, pits vocalist Andrea Wolper against a highly creative septet (Illay Sabag on piano, Ariel Bart on harmonica, Jim Ferraiuolo on oboe, Rachel Housle on drums, Peter Dennis on bass, Ohad Kapuya on bass, and Parker on cornet). Compositions like Visconti (10:25), Fellini (10:44), De Sica (08:35) and Rossellini (09:05) are among the most lyrical of the set.
Disc 9, The Fastest Train, is a trio album with Klaas Herman on flutes, Coen Aaberts on percussion and wind instruments and Parker on flute and pocket trumpet that crafts evocative pieces like Sacred Prayers (05:09) and The Elders at the Edge of the World part 2 (07:44).
Finally disc 10, Manzanar, has Parker on mouth organ and flutes accompanied by the Universal Tonality String Quartet (Melanie Dyer on viola, Jason Kao Hwang on violin, Gwen Laster on violin, and Dara Bloom on cello) in Charcoal Paragraphs (15:18) and Khaen (20:22), while highlight On Being Native (21:15) is performed by a chamber saxophone-strings quintet (Jason Kao Hwang and Jean Cook on violins , Nicole Federici on viola, Alexander Waterman on cello with Daniel Carter on alto saxophone).

A trio with Ava Mendoza (electric guitar) and Gerald Cleaver (drums) recorded Mayan Space Station (february 2020), containing the 15-minute Mayan Space Station.

Re-Union (february 2019) documents yet another collaboration between William Parker and Matthew Shipp.

The trio of Daniel Carter (reeds, trumpet, flute), William Parker (bass, trombonium, shakuhachi) and Hamid Drake (drums) recorded Painters Winter (january 2020).

Village Mothership (february 2020) documents the trio of Whit Dickey (drums), William Parker (bass) and Matthew Shipp (piano)

No Joke! (september 2019 and july 2020) collects two sessions with Parker's wife Patricia Nicholson (spoken word), James Brandon Lewis (tenor sax), Devin Brahja Waldman (alto sax), Melanie Dyer (violin) and Franceso Mela and Gerald Cleaver (drums), and contains the 19-minute Flare Up and the 21-minute title-track.

Music Frees Our Souls (november 2020) contains two lengthy improvisations by the trio of Matthew Shipp (piano), William Parker (bass) and drummer Francisco Mela: the 20-minute Light Of Mind and the 17-minute Infinite Consciousness.

Andrew Cyrille (drums), William Parker (bass) and Enrico Rava (trumpet) paid tribute to Cecil Taylor on 2 Blues For Cecil (february 2021).

A quartet with Eri Yamamoto (piano), Chad Fowler (stritch, saxello) and Steve Hirsh (drums) recorded the double-disc Sparks (october 2021), containing the 22-minute Taiko.

Parker led a 16-musician acoustic ensemble on the double-disc Universal Tonality (december 2002): Miya Masaoka on koto, Jason Kao Hwang and Billy Bang on violins, Jin Hi Kim on komungo, Joe Morris on guitar, Dave Burrell on piano, Leena Conquest on vocals, Grachan Moncur Ill and Steve Swell on trombones, Daniel Carter on reed and brass instruments, Matt Lavelle on trumpet, Rob Brown on alto sax, Cale Brandley on tenor sax, Jerome Cooper on balafon, chirami´a and keyboards, Roger Blank on balafon, Gerald Cleaver on drums, and Parker himself on bass, dilruba, shakuhachi and donso’ngoni. The album contains: Tails Of A Peacock (11:00), Cloud Texture ( 31:04), Leaves Gathering ( 20:36), Silver Sunshine (10:16), All Entrances (11:03) and Open System One (26:03).

Thinking Unthinking (august 2021) and Broken Unbroken (august 2021) contain improvisations with Chad Fowler (stritch & alto flute) and Anders Griffen (drums).

Jesup Wagon (december 2020) and For Mahalia with Love (Tao Forms, 2023) documented the Red Lily Quintet: James Brandon Lewis on tenor sax, Kirk Knuffke (cornet), William Parker (bass), Chad Taylor (drums) and Christopher Hoffman (cello).

(Copyright © 2015 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
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