To Be Released by Centering Records
June 15, 2018
Presently deep into his fifth exceptionally active decade as an essential jazz artist, William Parker ought need no introduction. However, one of the intrinsic aspects of his oeuvre that bears mentioning here, and which continues to surprise both new listeners and those already familiar with some of his extensive body of work as a multi-instrumentalist–composer–improviser–leader, is the vast range thereof. From era-defining statements of free music to soulful organ quartet; from his seamless incorporation of indigenous folk forms to his composing for symphony orchestra; exhilarating and mind-expanding work for jazz orchestra to the joyous accessibility of his Quartet; scoring for dance and film.
Voices Fall From The Sky is an expansive 3 CD Box Set (and download) comprising three distinct and complementary albums whose focus is on the voice: the singers, 17 of whom are featured herein -&- the songs, all composed by William Parker. Half of the work presented here are brand new recordings made in 2017/18 and half are Parker-curated selections of previously released material, much of which has been unavailable for far too long.
It all springs from the understood reality that voice is the first instrument of communication that humans possess from birth. Accompaniment on these 31 pieces ranges as widely as the voices, from duet to large ensemble, and a multitude of approaches are employed: art song to operatic, pop sensibilities to gospel, heart-stopping ballads to dance numbers, silence to exuberance. The lyrical content expresses love of nature and its vital importance to a whole life, compassion, anti-oppression, anti-war, anti-violence of any kind, praise of the creative spirit, and, Love. These themes are foundational in all of Parker’s work; the forefront spotlight on a multitude of expressive voices makes them that much more salient.
William Parker has been working with singers since his beginnings as a creative artist in the early 1970s. His creations featuring voice have found greatest renown with the groups/projects, Raining On The Moon [“In suggesting an alternate past, where Nina Simone jammed with John Coltrane, Parker finds another future.” – The Sunday Times], and The Inside Songs of Curtis Mayfield [“A superb example of how a pop songbook can be transformed … a fierce and awesome display of musical prowess … among the broadest, deepest and richest listens of 2010.” – JazzTimes].
As this collection is comprised of three distinct and complementary albums, it ought to be listened to as such. Each presents a different focus, and each has one “exception to the rule.”
Album/CD 1, also entitled Voices Fall From The Sky, features all-new work predominately recorded and mixed in December 2017 and January 2018, with an opening invocation from the earlier release, Long Hidden. The featured singers here are: Timna Comedi • Morley Shanti Kamen • Amirtha Kidambi • Kyoko Kitamura • Bernardo Palombo • Omar Payano • Jean Carla Rodea • Raina Sokolov-Gonzalez • Fay Victor • Andrea Wolper. Accompanists include: Karen Borca • Angelo Branford • Rob Brown • Gerald Cleaver • Jean Cook • Jason Kao Hwang • Masahiko Kono • William Parker • Dave Sewelson • Heru Shabaka-Ra • Steve Swell • Dario Acosta Teich • Eri Yamamoto
Album/CD 2, Songs, is comprised of duets (the one exception again being the lead track), and features three singers with whom Parker has had decades-long creative relationships with. Vintage recordings with Ellen Christi and Lisa Sokolov from the early 1990s which have been unavailable for far too long, are here re-sequenced / re-contextualized together with more recent work with Leena Conquest, plus a piece each feat. Ernie Odoom and Mola Sylla. Accompanists: Yuko Fujiyama • Cooper-Moore • William Parker • Eri Yamamoto.
Album/CD 3, Essence, focuses on the voice within large ensemble, and features selections from previously released albums together with a new suite / recording entitled The Blinking of the Ear, performed by mezzo-soprano opera singer AnnMarie Sandy. The previously released work is here presented in special edits from longer-form works and features the singers Ernie Odoom, Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay and Leena Conquest. Accompaniment is by four very different versions of the William Parker Orchestra, and his Double Quartet. The one exception here is the brand new suite, which features Eri Yamamoto on piano and Leonid Galaganov on drums, although how they and AnnMarie Sandy fill the silence is practically orchestral.
The creation of this incredibly rich collection has been a very important project for Parker, who spent a good deal of time this past winter writing, producing & sequencing its totality. It is being released on his own Centering Records imprint.
In addition to the aforementioned work with his Raining On The Moon ensemble, Voices Fall From The Sky is the definitive statement of William Parker’s work with singers and song to date. It is packaged in a beautiful box featuring commissioned artwork by Lois Eby, with individual album sleeves and full-color 40-page booklet featuring extensive notes, song annotation, and lyrics.This is a treasure box; abounding with gems.
SOURCE: Fully Altered Media