Longineu Parsons II

Spaced: Collected Works 1980-1999

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A long-overdue collection spanning the career of an admittedly minor but often fascinating trumpeter, Spaced is a fine introduction to Longineu Parsons' distinctive style. The closest comparison to Parsons, who worked with avant-garde pianist Cecil Taylor in the '70s before striking out on his own, is the British-born trumpeter Jon Hassell, a frequent collaborator of Brian Eno whose music balances world music forms and ambient mystery. Parsons is a considerably more forceful and funkier player than Hassell, with a stronger rooting in the free jazz and post-bop scenes, but the two share a fascination with the rhythms and melodies of other lands. From the North African-influenced "Party in Morocco" to an Afro-Cuban-tinged version of Lee Morgan's "Search for the New Land," the songs subtly introduce ethnic rhythms, but they're never allowed to become the focal point of the piece, an important point that keeps Parsons from being a Paul Simon-style appropriator. Parsons solos tremendously on a variety of instruments (fl├╝gelhorn and various recorders besides his usual trumpet), crafting lead lines that both maintain the forward motion of the rhythm section and add intriguing counterpoints to the stated melodic themes. Fans of the more adventurous side of ECM Records will find much to admire.

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