The new album from avant-garde bassist extraordinaire William Parker features him in three settings, which unfortunately for the discriminating record buyer vary in quality. His efforts with the Olmec Group find Parker playing percussion and six-string n’goni. In entertaining liner notes, he describes the instrument as a “hunter’s guitar from the Mande (Mali).” A quartet of merengue musicians lays down steady beats; soloists add melodic motives and rhythmic cells that wash over the beats like waves on the beach, overlapping, vaguely cyclic, loosely linked. Some will find it hypnotic music that never seems to begin or end; some will find it tedious for the same reason.
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