Saturday, October 19, 2013

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Spotlight on William Parker

This week we feature some video clips of bassist William Parker, who will be here with his In Order To Survive quintet to perform in a concert presented by New Music Circle next Friday, October 25 at Mad Art Gallery.

A 61-year-old native of the Bronx, NYC, Parker first gained wide attention in the 1980s with pianist Cecil Taylor, and has been a longtime band member for saxophonists David S. Ware and Peter Brötzmann. As organizer of the annual Vision Festival and a frequent collaborator with many different jazz and improvising musicians both in the USA and in Europe, Parker is considered an significant player in the NYC experimental music scene.

As a bandleader, Parker has been involved with many musical projects, and the In Order To Survive quintet is a direct outgrowth of his long-running quartet, adding pianist and multi-instrumentalist Cooper-Moore to that band's existing lineup of Parker, drummer Hamid Drake, alto saxophonist Rob Brown and trumpeter Lewis Barnes.

Unfortunately, there's not a lot of footage online of the In Order To Survive quintet, though we did include what seems to be the best clip, an excerpt from their set at the 2012 Vision Festival, here last month in part three of StLJN's fall jazz preview.

So today, as the next best thing, let's check out some videos featuring Parker in some other musical configurations that also include the members of In Order To Survive.

The first clip up top is from a gig in January 2008 in Moscow, Russia, and features the quartet of Parker, Drake, Brown and Barnes performing Parker's composition "Corn Meal Dance."

Down below, they're joined by vocalist and dancer Leena Conquest for a clip recorded in 2004 for the Hungarian public television network Duna, and another made by an audience member in June, 2005 at the Museum Of Art in Norrköping, Sweden.

The fourth and fifth videos take us back to Moscow, and feature excerpts from a duo performance in February 2012 by Parker and Drake. In clip #4, Drake plays frame drum and Parker plays a wood flute; in #5, they're working out on drum kit and bass, respectively.

The sixth and final video is an excerpt from a benefit concert for the NYC venue The Under_Line, recorded last December. It features Parker on bass and Cooper-Moore on drums, plus St. Louis Hamiet Bluiett on baritone sax, Charles Gayle on tenor sax, Jason Kao Hwang on violin, and, somewhat surprisingly, Christian McBride on a second bass.

For more about William Parker, check out this interview he did in 2011 with Capital, and this interview with him and Hamid Drake from the May 2010 issue of Jazz Times.

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