William Parker – Universal tonality


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Presented in deluxe 2-CD set in 6-panel digipak with 13×13″ poster insert, William Parker’s Universal Tonality is an epic archival recording which brings the titular concept to full, vibrant life. An exquisite example of this system in practice, it features a truly once-in-a-lifetime assembly of creative music luminaries and legends, including Billy Bang, Grachan Moncur III, Jerome Cooper, Dave Burrell, Jin Hi Kim, Joe Morris, Miya Masaoka, Daniel Carter, Jason Kao Hwang and Gerald Cleaver.

Clocking in at nearly two hours and featuring six extended pieces flowing across two discs, Universal Tonality documents a performance that took place at Roulette, NYC in December 2002. Parker invited 16 musicians of various ages, cultures and musical backgrounds to join him in an experiment of “breathing together.” While he provided a score (wonderfully illustrated pages from same are included in the package), all were advised that there need not be adherence to it. Parker’s hope with this approach is that each musician will trust their own instincts – and those of the musicians around them – enough to let the sound find its shape in real time. That constant current of inspiration, and open, receptive communication, was present at Roulette that night, and it’s on full display on this magical recording. Whether embodying a roof-raising big band, or an intimate cross-cultural chamber ensemble, the collective heard here always displays an impressive coherence and sensitivity.

When discussing or writing on his Universal Tonality concept as a whole (as on the enclosed, extensive liner notes), Parker can sound like he’s outlining a life philosophy. It is both telling and fitting that author Cisco Bradley chose to title his 2021 biography of William Parker after this concept.

Informação adicional


William Parker: bass, dilruba, shakuhachi, donso'ngoni, compositions
Jin Hi Kim: komungo
Miya Masaoka: koto
Billy Bang, Jason Kao Hwang: violin
Joe Morris: guitar
Dave Burrell: piano
Leena Conquest: voice
Steve Swell, Grachan Monchur III: trombone
Daniel Carter: reeds, brass
Matt Lavelle: trumpet
Rob Brown: alto saxophone
Cale Bradley: tenor saxophone
Jerome Cooper: balafon, chirama, keys, drums
Roger Blank: balafon
Gerald Cleaver: drums






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