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Sunday April 20, 2014
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Bassist William Parker

 

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But the young musician was already moving in new directions, inspired by others, including Garrison, who liberated the bass from the job of simply keeping time and marking basic harmonic stepping-stones. Over the years Parker progressively developed a highly personal approach; he can play soulful melodies, but sometimes he treats his bass as a percussion instrument, assigning each of the four strings a role similar to the individual elements of a drum set; he can bring out harmonics, creating the illusion of a string choir; generating sounds of birds, wind, folk instruments, or industrial machines, he embraces the universe in sonance. Unlike many more traditional jazz bassists, he has fully mastered the use of the bow, using it to create sonorities that you would never hear from a classically trained musician. Often, however, he goes back to the traditional role of the bassist, keeping time and driving his bandmates forward in ever shifting ways with his own take on Ware's riffs and ostinatos. When the spirit moves him, he will pick up a bamboo flute or an African harp to make musical and cultural statements.

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