William Parker

Fractured Dimensions

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It was supposed to be the Other Dimensions in Music quartet, but drummer Rashid Bakr couldn't make it to the Podewil in Berlin for the 1999 Total Music Meeting festival. So Alan Silva was asked to sit in with William Parker, Roy Campbell, and Daniel Carter. Fractured Dimensions is the documentation of this one-time encounter. Digital synthesizers are not often heard in free improvisation contexts. They sound a bit cold and intrusive. But Silva's playing is so colorful that one quickly leaves his apprehensions behind. He also has a piano within reach and switches between the two keyboards, adding to the already wide palette offered by the synthesizer. Carter also has access to a wide palette: his flute, clarinet, alto sax, and trumpet allow him to shape-shift. Campbell may outstage him as a trumpeter, Silva may occasionally bury him under digital flutters, but the truth is, that Carter's instrumental decisions and consistent artistic flair are what pushes the quartet onward -- that and Parker's double bass, fat and embracing as always. Entirely improvised, the set as a whole remains very close to the American free jazz spirit, and fans of Parker will have no trouble recognizing his way of "leading" without leading. It takes a while before sparks start to fly, but by "Vermeer," all the pieces of the puzzle have found their place and "Acrosses Rain," (34-minutes long), could make you believe that this is Other Dimensions in Music playing in another dimension. The quiet finale of "Sonnet for Armstrong," with Silva playing delicate chords at the piano, while Campbell and Carter exchange foggy trumpet lines, is alone worth the price of admission.

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