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William Parker/ In Order to Survive: Posium Pendasem

Recorded at a ’98 Berlin concert, Posium Pendasem documents a particularly strong edition of composer-bassist William Parker’s In Order to Survive, a quintet rounded out by saxophonists Rob Brown and Assif Tsahar, pianist Cooper-Moore and drummer Susie Ibarra. The group sans Tsahar had finished the sessions for the two-disc The Peach Orchard (Aum Fidelity) the prior month, so the music benefits from the combination of recent high-level production and in Tsahar, an extra, if familiar, catalyst.

The bulk of the program is comprised of the electrifying 50-minute “Posium Pendasem #7.” Exemplary of Parker’s approach to extended open-form works, it is refreshingly void of pat, diffused intensity and clumsy transition points. A case in point is the seamlessness of the piece’s first three sections: a 15-minute ensemble burst, a short blistering exchange between Brown and Tsahar, and a long flurry of trio textures from Cooper-Moore, Parker and Ibarra. The piece is half over when the horns return, and while the intensity is redlining for the most part, there is also sufficient variety to keep the listener engaged.

Two compositions rooted in traditional notation round out the program: a short, prelude-like solo piano reading of “Posium Pendasem #9,” which Cooper-Moore bathes in austere and pensive colors, and “Another Angel Goes Home,” a post-modern sorrow song for quintet. Respectively sequenced before and after “Posium Pendasem #7,” they give the album a compelling shape.

Originally Published