William Parker




Perhaps William Parker was Poseidon in a past life, given his uncanny capacity to calm or ruffle the music’s surface, or churn it up deep beneath, turning choppiness into great swells of sound. He lends his double bass an almost primordial vastness, not by being artificially prominent in the mix, but by a profundity of ideas, an irresistible propulsion and a sheer breadth of sound. But then I guess 10 years playing with Cecil Taylor is either going to make you or break you.

He released this album with guitarist Ava Mendoza and drummer Gerald Cleaver simultaneously with Painters Winter, where he is joined by drummer Hamid Drake and the pithy and often astringent Daniel Carter (trumpet, reeds). Mayan Space Station, by contrast, is almost psychedelic. While Parker and Cleaver generate ground-shaking grooves, Mendoza unleashes primal, star-spangled guitar, which, despite having precursors ranging from Marc Ribot to Terje Rypdal, David Torn, Bill Frisell and Robert Fripp, is ultimately a rocket ship of her own devising. As well as slashing neon streaks across the skies, she engages in heady dialogues with a truly great rhythm section.