Double Sunrise over Neptune
Avant jazz (free jazz/out jazz/ecstatic jazz – pick your flavor) often thrives in lithe groupings; but bassist William Parker has long been known for leading large ensembles in adventurous music-making; noteworthy among them: Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra. While not dubbed an orchestra, sixteen musicians premiered Parker’s long form composition Double Sunrise over Neptune at the Vision XII festival, held at the Orensatz Center in New York City in 2007. Portions of this were sonically compromised; the musicians reconvened the next day and rerecorded the work. AUM’s CD compiles the latter performance and the better half of the premiere into a full length album.
Given Parker’s dual gifts – as a rhythm section player and leader – it’s not surprising that the proceedings are groove-centered. Undulating bass-lines and a plethora of percussion instruments lay down a solid foundation, over which a number of NY’s most creative jazzers unleash effusive solos. While there are a number of fine contributions, guitarist Joe Morris and saxophonists Sabir Mateen and Rob Brown are especially thrilling.
Some of the instrumentalist use ethnic instruments such as oud and doson’ngoni, giving the music a globalized flavor. The star of the show is vocalist Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay, whose melismatic runs rival the fastest utterances of colleagues’ strings or winds. What’s more, Parker’s compositional organization and direction assure that the piece flows with direction and clarity. Apparently, as long as you have players like these, avant jazz works well writ large!