On the heels of two very intriguing CDs (Painter's Spring and Mayor of Punkville), luminary bassist William Parker let loose another for 2000 on his own Centering Music label. O'Neal's Porch, a tribute of sorts to Parker's late uncle, features a quartet with Rob Brown on alto sax, Lewis Barnes blowing trumpet, and Hamid Drake, Parker's compatriot since 1998, banging drums. While Brown and Barnes are familiar playing with the bassist (both have performed in his large ensembles), Parker and Drake comprise the best rhythm section in jazz; together, they should go down in the history books as one of the most fruitful and interesting musical relationships this side of Ellington and Strayhorn, Diz and Bird, and Miles and Trane.
It’s hard to pick a favorite William Parker outfit. Everything he touches is magic, from his giant orchestras to his solo outings. But his quartets might be his ideal venues: There’s enough structure that the music can’t be called free jazz, and there’s enough leeway to let democracy command the performance. Last October, Parker took two quartets into the studio on the same day, and the result—recorded all in one day—is the blissful two-disc set Meditation/Resurrection.
Wood Flute Songs: Anthology / Live 2006-2012 is an 8CD box set of all previously unissued recordings by world-renowned bassist-composer-bandleader William Parker, a 2013 recipient of the Doris Duke Foundation’s Artist Award. Parker is a wonderfully prolific composer, and over half of the compositions make their beautiful debut on record here as well, including CDs 6, 7, 8 which feature entirely new work. The deluxe 8CD box contains nine hours of fully lit performances captured in high fidelity, and a 24pg. booklet with extensive notes and key images. It is published in a strictly limited edition of 1500 copies. It shall provide attuned listeners a lifetime of enduring pleasure & enlightenment.
The Savoy imprint, after being acquired by an assortment of companies over the years, has been reinvigorated to celebrate its 60th anniversary. This three-disc set includes all of Parker's work for the Dial and Savoy labels (excluding alternate takes–hence the title). It starts off with his appearance as a sideman with the Tiny Grimes Quintette, at which time the 24-year-old's alto saxophone playing bears his unmistakable stamp of fluidity and daring aplomb. The stellar lights of bebop are heard throughout this set, as Parker plays with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and Max Roach, creating the enduring shape of contemporary jazz.
That sound. One group conceived it. Defined it. Perfected it. The Modern Jazz Quartet was certainly one of the most distinctive voices in the history of jazz, thanks to the unique qualities of personal expression and collective vision of its members Milt Jackson, John Lewis, Percy Heath and Connie Kay (who had replaced original drummer Kenny Clarke by the time the band started recording this music). They were also exceptionally prolific during their tenure at Atlantic Records, producing 14 albums in eight years. And now, that MJQ sound gets the complete respect it deserves, thanks to our new box, The Complete 1956-1964 Modern Jazz Quartet Atlantic Studio Recordings.