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William Parker with The Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra: Sunrise In The Tone World

This 20-piece ensemble develops a powerful synergy out of strong if inchoate ideas of a humanistic and creative revolution welling from the heart and bowels of Brooklyn. Parker’s own virtuosic bass is buried deep in roiling textures of caterwauling reeds (Rob Brown’s alto on high) and howling brass (Alex Lodico’s trombone muezzin-call and Roy Campbell’s brash trumpet foremost), but his subtle, if not gentle, leadership is manifest. Three decades in the avant garde (lately, work with David S. Ware, Joe Morris, Matthew Shipp) have opened in him a Sun Ra-like charisma.

The listener will need an inward tuning, intrapersonal acceptance, and strong guts to internalize all this band’s raw energy and rampant freedom: no chords, elusive (or no) beat, persistent (but not universal) high dynamics. Every track’s a work-in-progress, the verbally notated charts emphasize collective energy and constant flux. The title track lays a gargantuan, ragged ostinato under Brown’s bleating alto wail; later Gregg Bandian’s vibes cut through the morass, and Lisa Sokolov’s vibrant soprano leads several out-choruses. The focal piece, “Huey Sees Light Through A Leaf,” unleashes a supra-Coltrane collective uproar, with 10,001 points of light illuminating Chris Jonas’ charcoal mural paper scroll of surreal forms (flora more brittle than Monet’s) and Parker’s parallel 40-word-sketch score.

Other audio referents for this listener are O. Coleman’s “Free Jazz” (“And Again”) and the vibes/alto duos of Gunter Hampel/Marion Brown (in the Bandian/Marco Eneidi “Painter and the Poet.”) That the recording quality is distant and somewhat blurry may do more good than harm, powdering ensemble warts and blemishes. Sailing this rough bark over uncharted waters, the band navigates mysterious realms-Bermuda triangle, Sargasso sea-and lives to tell of it.

Originally Published