June 24, 2024


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CD review: William Parker – In Order to Survive 2019: Video, CD cover

William Parker’s work on record was the subject of an 8-page “Primer” in the May 2019 issue of The Wire, in a rare occasion of that feature focusing on one artist.

“Over the course of his long and unwavering career as a composer, bandleader, bassist, and event organizer, Parker has produced a catalog of compositions and a legacy of performances distinguished both by their free-thinking, often radical sense of adventure and by their elemental dedication to beauty and human feeling. More extraordinary, perhaps, Parker appears to be in the midst of a late-career blossoming; he is making (some of) his heftiest music yet, work that reaffirms the imaginative prowess that has made him a stalwart force since the 1970s.” – The Nation

“Stunning new music from one of the master bassist’s greatest bands. Steeped in melody and groove, this is some of Parker’s most accessible music, with the musicians improvising around open structures with telepathic acuity.” – The Quietus

An exemplary new double-album from one of master bassist-composer-improviser William Parker’s flagship groups, recorded live & presenting all-new compositions, including the extended suite “Eternal Is The Voice Of Love” and “Newark” (dedicated to early group member, trombonist Grachan Moncur III), along with a new iteration of the band’s theme. Featuring pianist Cooper-Moore, alto saxophonist Rob Brown and drummer Hamid Drake, In Order To Survive is one of the great jazz groups of the past quarter century.

Launched in 1993, In Order To Survive was Parker’s first fully dedicated small group. It has always featured Cooper-Moore & Rob Brown, together with a series of drummers (including Denis Charles, and then Susie Ibarra) and occasional additional brass/reeds. A top live draw in New York during the heights of that heady decade, they made momentous visits to Europe as well. This initial phase culminated on record with their first double-live set, The Peach Orchard, an era-defining work released by AUM Fidelity in 1998.

In Order To Survive reconvened at the 2012 Vision Festival on occasion of AUM Fidelity’s 15th Anniversary celebrations. That set of new work was released as part of the Wood Flute Songs box set, hailed as a 5-Star Masterpiece by DownBeat, and as the #1 Archival Release of the Year by The Wire.

In October 2016, IOTS entered the studio for the first time since the Compassion Seizes Bed-Stuy session of 1995. This work was presented as half of the exquisite double-album, Meditation/Resurrection, released in July 2017. Two nights were booked at ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn to celebrate its release. “A mid-summer guided self-illumination” was promised on the handbill for these concerts. Live/Shapeshifter presents both sets of night two. Beyond expressing the obvious, the album title states the shamanistic nature of the work at hand.

Features: Rob Brown (alto saxophone), Cooper-Moore (piano), and Hamid Drake (drums)

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