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William Parker Violin Trio: Scrapbook

For Scrapbook, bassist William Parker assembled an intimate trio that includes his frequent battery mate, drummer Hamid Drake, and violinist Billy Bang. This CD can easily sit alongside Parker’s recent and equally brilliant quartet recording, O’Neal’s Porch.

Perhaps the key element to this CD is Bang’s violin; it gives the music a deep, timeless, folk sound that goes from singing and ebullient to almost unbearably tense and naked. In Bang’s hands, Parker’s melodies come unvarnished and graceful at first. Soon enough, the violinist finds violent essays in them with a sound that somehow reaches back to the raw sound of pre-war Appalachian folk without abandoning the sounds of urban jazz. Around him, Parker and Drake turn out a wiry, vascular groove-can they do this in their sleep?-that gives the music its delicate power. Both the title track and “Sunday Morning Church” open with Parker and Drake locked up and jamming in a way that is so deeply satisfying that they could easily court your ears for hours.

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