WILLIAM PARKER ORCHESTRA: Essence of Ellington
AUM Fidelity, 2012
AVANT-GARDE – The great improvising bassist leads an all-star big band through interpretations of Duke Ellington works and new pieces inspired by Ellington. Recorded at the premiere, live in Milan earlier this year. As you would expect, the results are loud, bold, raucous, very challenging… but also rich, earthy, and deeply soulful. Impressive!
Fo’s Picks: Disc I – 3, 4 Disc II – 1, 3, 4
1. 3:12 – spoken introduction
2. 20:15 – scattered sax/drum intro; slips into brisk swing with wild sax solos and horn cacophony; opens to free improv in final third, abrupt end
3. 26:38 – abstract horn/piano; elastic reading of metaphysical poem; melody starts after 7:00; slow & gently warping w/big vocal, inside-out solos
4. 21:09 – fast swing: sax goes “out” in a mad squeal; trombone & bass burn; wild vocal ululation… this just keeps going and never lets up!
1. 07:28 – ballad: solo piano intro; adds screaming alto sax & acrobatic vocal
2. 16:35 – repeated five-note riff builds into strong groove abstraction of “A Train”… damn! Eventually switches to an open clarinet/bass duet
3. 23:16 – very long alto sax intro (5 mins); then vibrant ensemble; bright solos jab and roll over heavy, chugging groove, expands in final 6 mins.
4. 14:13 – cool walking rhythm and great song-poem; the ending is just nuts!