It’s hard to pick a favorite William Parker outfit. Everything he touches is magic, from his giant orchestras to his solo outings. But his quartets might be his ideal venues: There’s enough structure that the music can’t be called free jazz, and there’s enough leeway to let democracy command the performance. Last October, Parker took two quartets into the studio on the same day, and the result—recorded all in one day—is the blissful two-disc set Meditation/Resurrection.
No one else sounds like William Parker. That statement refers not just to his bass playing but also to his bands’ entire aesthetic—the compositions, the way the musicians interact. This is especially true of his smaller groups, and yet the two quartets here sound entirely distinct from each other. Both include drummer Hamid Drake and alto saxophonist Rob Brown.