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William Parker|Mayan Space Station

Mayan Space Station

William Parker

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While most musicians look for a singular style they can master, and which sets them apart, jazz bassist William Parker's way is his style—forward motion and a constant churn of fertile ideas that flow through his head and fingers. He's an expert at building free-flowing conversation with endless combinations of players—some new acquaintances, many who are old friends—offering lots of room for collaborative ideas and allowing equal time to steer while he follows. William Parker describes his music in liner notes to Painters Winter as "a tribute to the flow of rhythm as melody and pulsation." This is not to say that there isn't also genius in what he does because clearly there is. And while he is most often called a free jazz player, there is much structure, subtle melody, and devotion to rhythmic grounding in his subtle, complex playing—sometimes with a bow, other times pizzicato (plucking the strings).

A teeming creativity animates his generally long (10 minutes plus) compositions. Here in a pair of records recorded together and released on the same day, two of Parker's major modes are the focus. Under the Sun Ra-like title of Mayan Space Station, Parker partners with longtime collaborator drummer Gerald Cleaver and blazing avant/psych rock electric guitar player Ava Mendoza in a classic jazz rock power trio. Mendoza often dominates the sonic proceedings; in the opener "Tabasco" distorted single notes spray across a crowded soundscape where Parker's steady playing lights the middle of the road ahead while Cleaver swerves from side to side relying on cymbals and snare to add rhythmic muddle. The mix on Parker's recordings is clever and generous as well, with players deliberately moving slightly as if they were stepping forward for a solo. In "Domingo" Parker is out front with Mendoza behind casting long, at times almost siren-like lines interspersed with bursts of dense chittering exclamations. The title track prominently features Cleaver leading the way with a steady rhythm over which Mendoza reaches for the cosmos.

Painters Winter is a sequel of sorts to Painters Spring, a record that Parker, drummer Hamid Drake, and brass and reed polyglot Daniel Carter made together in 2000. This is Parker's quieter, more contemplative side though you'd never know it from the bustling walking bass line and aggressive driving rhythms of the opener "Groove 77." On the title track Parker mixes squiggles on the trombonium with plaintive lines from Carter on flute. Parker again plays an exotic instrument—this time the shakuhacbhi—on "Painted Scarf" which playfully entwines with Carter, this time on sax. Drake works his own innovative idiom throughout. In the closer "A Curley Russell," a tribute to the bebop bass great, Parker falls into a rare steady groove over which Carter flutters and cries. Having released nearly 60 albums as leader or co-leader since the turn of the 21st century, Parker's profusion of music doesn't always produce transcendent results, but rarely falls short on revelations. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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Mayan Space Station

William Parker

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1
Tabasco
00:05:39

William Parker, MainArtist - Gerald Cleaver, Drums - Ava Mendoza, ElectricGuitar

2021 AUM Fidelity 2021 AUM Fidelity

2
Rocas Rojas
00:06:43

William Parker, MainArtist - Gerald Cleaver, Drums - Ava Mendoza, ElectricGuitar

2021 AUM Fidelity 2021 AUM Fidelity

3
Domingo
00:07:09

William Parker, MainArtist - Gerald Cleaver, Drums - Ava Mendoza, ElectricGuitar

2021 AUM Fidelity 2021 AUM Fidelity

4
Mayan Space Station
00:14:42

William Parker, MainArtist - Gerald Cleaver, Drums - Ava Mendoza, ElectricGuitar

2021 AUM Fidelity 2021 AUM Fidelity

5
Canyons of Light
00:10:05

William Parker, MainArtist - Gerald Cleaver, Drums - Ava Mendoza, ElectricGuitar

2021 AUM Fidelity 2021 AUM Fidelity

6
The Wall Tumbles Down
00:13:50

William Parker, MainArtist - Gerald Cleaver, Drums - Ava Mendoza, ElectricGuitar

2021 AUM Fidelity 2021 AUM Fidelity

Album Description

While most musicians look for a singular style they can master, and which sets them apart, jazz bassist William Parker's way is his style—forward motion and a constant churn of fertile ideas that flow through his head and fingers. He's an expert at building free-flowing conversation with endless combinations of players—some new acquaintances, many who are old friends—offering lots of room for collaborative ideas and allowing equal time to steer while he follows. William Parker describes his music in liner notes to Painters Winter as "a tribute to the flow of rhythm as melody and pulsation." This is not to say that there isn't also genius in what he does because clearly there is. And while he is most often called a free jazz player, there is much structure, subtle melody, and devotion to rhythmic grounding in his subtle, complex playing—sometimes with a bow, other times pizzicato (plucking the strings).

A teeming creativity animates his generally long (10 minutes plus) compositions. Here in a pair of records recorded together and released on the same day, two of Parker's major modes are the focus. Under the Sun Ra-like title of Mayan Space Station, Parker partners with longtime collaborator drummer Gerald Cleaver and blazing avant/psych rock electric guitar player Ava Mendoza in a classic jazz rock power trio. Mendoza often dominates the sonic proceedings; in the opener "Tabasco" distorted single notes spray across a crowded soundscape where Parker's steady playing lights the middle of the road ahead while Cleaver swerves from side to side relying on cymbals and snare to add rhythmic muddle. The mix on Parker's recordings is clever and generous as well, with players deliberately moving slightly as if they were stepping forward for a solo. In "Domingo" Parker is out front with Mendoza behind casting long, at times almost siren-like lines interspersed with bursts of dense chittering exclamations. The title track prominently features Cleaver leading the way with a steady rhythm over which Mendoza reaches for the cosmos.

Painters Winter is a sequel of sorts to Painters Spring, a record that Parker, drummer Hamid Drake, and brass and reed polyglot Daniel Carter made together in 2000. This is Parker's quieter, more contemplative side though you'd never know it from the bustling walking bass line and aggressive driving rhythms of the opener "Groove 77." On the title track Parker mixes squiggles on the trombonium with plaintive lines from Carter on flute. Parker again plays an exotic instrument—this time the shakuhacbhi—on "Painted Scarf" which playfully entwines with Carter, this time on sax. Drake works his own innovative idiom throughout. In the closer "A Curley Russell," a tribute to the bebop bass great, Parker falls into a rare steady groove over which Carter flutters and cries. Having released nearly 60 albums as leader or co-leader since the turn of the 21st century, Parker's profusion of music doesn't always produce transcendent results, but rarely falls short on revelations. © Robert Baird/Qobuz

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