William Parker Trio - ... and William Danced

Tom Sekowski, Gaz-Eta

William Parker's music has been written about for way too long. Some over analyze it. Others can't praise it enough. There is also the conservative faction that takes delight in putting a nail in Parker's coffin, calling his music all sorts of interesting and abusive adjectives. I'm not going to line up behind any of these factions. William Parker's playing has been varied to say the least, though I've yet to hear a recording of his that I didn't (at least) appreciate or at least like.
It comes as no surprise then, that Parker hand picks whom he wants to play with. This particular date, recorded in April of 2002, features a virgin trio: Parker on bass, Anders Gahnold on alto, and Hamid Drake on drums. All three pieces recorded that April day, stretch out quite nicely, giving everyone ample room to breathe and expand on a multitude of themes.
Especially welcome is the beautifully understated percussion-bass duo in "First Dance", where Drake establishes a wild rhythm, while Parker with ease of a master provides a front-bone (word backbone would be seen as an insult) shell. "The Undertaker's Dance" starts off like a wild-fire gone wrong, courtesy of Gahnold's superlative quick blowing.
The mix on this record is worthy of a mention. Track separation is crystal clear, so much so, that even during the most intense sections, one distinctly hears Drake's soft touch on the cymbals. Big round of applause goes out to Jan Ström for recording this trio for posterity. The phrase highly recommended would only be an oxymoron in this case.