Parker tests his leadership skills in the context of the Little Huey aggregation, which comprises seven stations: trombones (Masahiko Kono, Steve Swell and Alex Lodico); trumpets (Roy Campbell, Richard Rodriguez and Lewis Barnes); baritone sax/tuba (Dave Sewelson and Dave Hofstra, respectively); soprano/tenor sax (Chris Jonas and Darryl Foster); alto sax (Rob Brown, Ori Kaplan and Charles Waters); drums (Andrew Barker); and bass (Parker, Hofstra on two tracks). Parker also plays piano on three selections, which isn’t accorded a station-making it, one assumes, one of those rules that just needs breaking from time to time. Cooper-Moore adds piano on two other selections, and Aleta Hayes contributes a compelling vocal on “James Baldwin to the Rescue,” a tribute to a key inspiration for Parker. The set closes with “Anthem,” a moving elegy for Lester Bowie that conveys deep feeling on the part of all the players, who by design contribute to the shape and substance of the composition each time it is played. The players have written parts, and they also have the freedom to play their own line when the spirit moves them. The results are kaleidoscopic, with parallels to Sam Rivers’ large ensemble work, as well as that of Henry Threadgill and Charles Mingus-the bouncing trombone line in “Interlude #1 (The Next Phase)” is very Mingus-like. This is provocative, multifaceted music from a musician whose vision seems to embrace the whole world.
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