Parker, William – “Wood Flute Songs” – [Aum Fidelity]
Eight CD’s, over nine hours of music spanning six years in six different settings, including a KFJC engineering/recording assist at Yoshi’s Oakland. What else might you say but “Holy Cow!!!!” William Parker, jazz bassist and all around renaissance man, has created a project that is comprehensive, entertaining and all around stunning.
Hailing from the South Bronx, Parker’s influences are expansive and stellar in all areas. Citing Stan Brakhage, Jonas Mekas, Maya Deren, Carl Th. Dreyer, Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor….. the list goes on and on… as influences for his art and eventual turn to jazz, Parker uses mentors as guides to build his musical world attempting to reach the “tone world” where “only magical formulas that will bring the dead back to life will be alive in this world of tones and vibrations and the word interesting will be banned from the vocabulary.” One word to describe him, I thought, was Shaman. Well, I hit that on the head because guess what he calls himself? That’s right.
These eight CD’s cover a variety of incarnations of Parker’s performance groups. At the core is the William Parker Quartet, laying down solid rhythms, exploring the space within and between, improvising within the structure, going from a free jazz sense, to his standards, to solo outrageousness. Parker is primarily a bassist and the introduction to him is scratching away at the strings, seemingly at the top or bottom of the bass. It goes on until you get lost in his vision and journey. And for nine hours plus the journey continues. These are professionals, playing a skilled music, exploring the works given and the skills of each other. Enjoy for decades to come.