William Parker & ICI Ensemble: Winter Sun Crying


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Artikelnummer: NEOS 41008 Kategorie:
Veröffentlicht am: Januar 12, 2011


Composer in Dialogue 2009
William Parker & ICI Ensemble


Veranstaltet vom ICI forum munich e.V. und gefördert vom Kulturreferat der Landeshauptstadt München.
Eine Auftragskomposition des ICI forum munich e.V.

William Parker wurde 1952 in der Bronx, New York City geboren. Parker, der seit über dreißig Jahren eigene Projekte unterschiedlicher Größe pflegt und für diese Besetzungen auch komponiert (dokumentiert auf über 20 Alben unter eigenem Namen) steht damit in einer Linie mit anderen Leader-Bassisten wie Charles Mingus, Dave Holland und Barry Guy.

William Parker ist international zunächst vor allem im Cecil Taylor Trio aufgefallen, mit dem er von 1980 bis 1991 zusammenarbeitete. Er spielte aber auch in Gruppen von Peter Brötzmann und Charles Gayle, hatte gemeinsame Auftritte mit Derek Bailey, Tony Oxley, Sunny Murray, Louis Sclavis, Don Cherry, Billy Higgins, Rashied Ali, Perry Robinson, Roscoe Mitchell, Henry Grimes, Mat Maneri, Jeanne Lee, John Zorn und DJ Spooky – um nur einige der unterschiedlichsten musikalischen Persönlichkeiten zu nennen, mit denen William Parker kollaborierte.

Mit dem Bassisten Barre Phillips und der Bassistin Joëlle Léandre spielte er das Album After You’ve Gone zur Erinnerung an Peter Kowald ein. Mit seiner Frau, der Tänzerin Patricia Nicholson, hat er das Vision Festival in New York gegründet und zum wichtigen Ereignis entwickelt.

Er unterrichtete am Bennington College, NYU, The New England Conservatory of Music, Cal Arts, New School University und dem Rotterdam Conservatory of Music. William Parker ist außerdem Poet, Theoretiker und Autor einiger Bücher, u. a. Document Humanum, The Sound Journal, who owns music? und The Mayor of Punkville. Er schrieb das Theaterstück Music and the Shadow People.

Der Boston Globe schrieb 2002 über ihn: »William Parker has emerged as the most important leader of the current avant-garde scene in jazz.« 2009 erhielt William Parker den Jazz Journalists Association Award in der Sparte ›Bassist des Jahres‹.

Für COMPOSER IN DIALOGUE 2009 erarbeitete William Parker gemeinsam mit dem ICI Ensemble eine eigens auf das ICI zugeschnittene Komposition – mit dem für das Ensemble typischen improvisatorischen Element. Das Konzert knüpft damit an die wegweisenden Begegnungen der Reihe mit Olga Neuwirth, Barry Guy, Pierre Favre, George Lewis, Giancarlo Schiaffini und Vinko Globokar an.


Composer in Dialogue
William Parker & ICI Ensemble

Winter Sun Crying

[01] Bells 08:10
[02] Train 02:59
[03] Winter Sun Crying 04:24
[04] Earth 03:12
[05] Moon 05:04
[06] Orphans 04:37
[07] Explosion 02:48
[08] Tears 03:03
[09] Hope 02:36
[10] Sky 03:14
[11] Grandmother 02:12
[12] Circle 04:00
[13] Hello 03:02
[14] Revolution 06:56
[15] Let’s Change the World 06:39

total time: 62:56

William Parker, double bass/piccolo trumpet/shakuhachi/double reeds
David Jäger, soprano saxophone/tenor saxophone
Roger Jannotta, alto saxophone/piccolo/flute/clarinet
Markus Heinze, baritone saxophone/tenor saxophone
Christofer Varner, trombone/sampler
Johanna Varner, cello
Martin Wolfrum, piano/keyboard
Gunnar Geisse, laptop/laptop guitar
Georg Janker, double bass/G2
Sunk Pöschl, drums

Live Recording



Muffathale di Monaco, 20 dicembre 2009 è in scena il progetto Winter Sun Crying composizione in dialogo tra un insieme di musicisti dell’avanguardia jazz. Protagonisti : William Parker, contrabbassista newyorkese, esponente di spicco della downtown e l’ICI Ensemble formazione europea che opera dal 1999 da sempre orientata alla stretta collaborazione con musicisti di primo piano nell’ambito dell’improvvisazione jazz.

Quindici brani nella descrizione riportata sul retro della copertina per quella che di fatto è una suite di ben 62 minuti e 56 secondi interpretata da una band di 10 musicisti che comprende oltre al già citato Parker (double-bass, piccolo, trumpet, shakuhachi, double reeds) i teutonici: David Jager, soprano & tenor saxophones; Roger Jannotta, alto saxophone, piccolo, flute, clarinet; Markus Heinze, baritone & tenor saxophones; Christofer Varner, trombone, sampler; Martin Wolfrum, piano; Johanna Varner, cello; Gunnar Geisse, laptop & laptop guitar; Georg Janker, double-bass e Sunk Poschi, drums.

L’ascolto del cd è come un viaggio attraverso una galassia di suoni e interazioni assolutamente incantevoli. Un continuo sorprendersi per come questi musicisti riescono ad interagire creando dialoghi dalle varie sfaccettature timbriche.  Un avvicendamento di climi e atmosfere che non ti aspetti. Un susseguirsi di attività vulcanicamente in ebollizione, luci e colori mutanti, percorsi labirintici apparentemente senza sbocchi che assumono traiettorie imprevedibili in un’incessante fluidità temporale e dialettica senza alcuna ripetitività.

Si intravede dietro tutto ciò una sorta di intelaiatura di fondo un’accennata progettualità da svolgere in una condizione di un’assoluta oralità. L’improvvisazione è il sale essenziale di un’opera certamente unica che si aggiunge al carnet delle collaborazioni già attuate dall’ICI Ensemble con musicisti quali  Vinko Globokar, Giancarlo Schiaffini, Pierre Fabre, George E. Lewis ed Evan Parker, solo alcuni dei tanti, i più noti.

Un’opera che definisce il potenziale espressivo e la sintesi che può derivare dalla collaborazione di musicisti europei ed esponenti dell’avanguardia d’oltreoceano. Da ascoltare e riascoltare fino a superare un apparente aspetto ostico che un primo approccio potrebbe falsamente evidenziare. Imperdibile.

Giuseppe Mavilla



The ICI Ensemble Munich (International Composers & Improvisers) is a loose group of German musicians, with varying line-ups. They have developed their „Composer in Dialogue“ concept to which they invite modern composers, with so far Olga Neuwirth, Barry Guy, Pierre Favre, George Lewis, Giancarlo Schiaffini und Vinko Globokar as invitees. From what I could find, only the collaborations with Neuwirth and Lewis were released on record, but I must say that – like most avant-garde music – their promotion is as amateurish as their music is good.

In 2009, the band invited William Parker to compose for them, and the result is absolutely staggering. Parker has of course composed for improvisational orchestras with his own Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra, music of incredible density and freedom.

After some questionable side-steps in the past years, we find the New York artist back in full glory. In fifteen relatively short compositions, Parker develops incredibly coherent gems of sound, with the gravity and solemnity of a Bill Dixon, all forming one single suite, and with a lightness of arrangements that belies the size of the octet, because instruments come and go, for short bursts of sounds, a few phrases. Parker seems to try to evoke the strong memory imprints of his life or youth : „Bells“, „Train“, „Explosion“, „Tears“, or the space around : „Earth“, „Moon“, „Sky“, but then in a deep and meaningful way : full of emotion and sprituality : „Hope“, „Revolution“, „Winter Sun Crying“. The „Train“ sounds like a train, or rather the shadow of a train. „Earth“ is all angular and hard and unpredictable. „Moon“ is slower and eery with unison howls and crescendos. „Explosion“ is built around incredible tension, with weird background noises and dark rumbling drums laying the backdrop for innocent flute playing, juxtaposing Not surprisingly, the last piece, „Let’s Change The World“ is as fragile as it gets, almost transparent music with Parker’s bamboo flute adding a kind of universal song for mankind.

Credit also goes to the entire band, who really move as one, with a great sense of direction creating sonic environments that are open in nature. To be clear, this is not all improvisation : this is well thought-through and structured music, with room for exploration and emphasis, and it makes it all the powerful for the listener.

This is jazz in its most modern shape and at its best : intelligent, complex, compelling, technically superb, surprising, deep, emotional.

Not to be missed and to me for sure one of the contender of album of the year.

© stef
Labels: *****, Avant-garde jazz


Heard In

William Parker and the ICI Ensemble
Winter Sun Crying

(NEOS Music)

review by Kurt Gottschalk

It’s a sad state of (American) affairs that we so often have to rely on the Europeans to hear the ideas of our mystic geniuses crystallized. Fortunately, however, we do have the Europeans, and their standing orchestras ready to embrace new music, new challenges and new situations. The remarkable Instabile Orchestra of Italy made clockwork out of both Anthony Braxton and Cecil Taylor, and likewise the German ICI Ensemble — having worked with Barry Guy, Joëlle Léandre, George Lewis, Evan Parker and many others — lent its precise collective hand to William Parker for this 2008 concert recording.

Parker, of course, is a titan of free jazz as well as being a conjurer of large-scale ideas for large ensembles. His Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra can be a force to be reckoned with, especially when a residency or prolonged engagement allows opportunity to sharpen its edge. In the land without arts funding such occasions are rare, but when they do occur, Parker can pull from one of his many hats a grandness in vision reminiscent of Mingus, another New York bassist who struggled to realize dreams that outsized nightclubs.

Given the opportunity to work with the diverse nonet on this recording, then, it’s surprising that Parker didn’t arrive in Munich with a more obvious game plan. The 15 tracks on Winter Sun Crying run as a continuous whole, but there’s no obvious structure to the 63-minute suite.

Which doesn’t mean there isn’t one, of course, nor does it mean there has to be. And there is a cart/horse problem is writing about what an artist might have done, but it’s relevant insofar as Winter Sun Crying is such an unusual work in Parker’s discography. It comes off as a freely improvised session, if with more discipline and texture than the typical blowing session, and no composition credits are given on the disc. The ensemble includes a variety of reeds plus trombone, cello, piano, bass and drums, but also a „laptop guitar“ and three other players employing electronics. More than that, however, they employ space. They are, clearly, a band which has grown past the point of individual egos. Parker for his part is heard on bass, piccolo trumpet, shakuhachi and double reeds, fully immersed in both band and proceedings. If it is a purely improvised session, it’s one done with great tastefulness.

And despite any second-guessing of suppositions, the proceedings are great. It may not have the earmarks of a Parker session (whatever those may be, they’re known when they’re heard), but it has all the requisite inventiveness of contemporary — perhaps European — structured improvisation. If it’s a detour along Parker’s capital double-you Work, the scenery is still fantastic.





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