Saturday, June 19, 2004

William Parker's Raining on the Moon Band - Rome Italy 4/4/04

I really liked Parker's Raining on the Moon CD when it came out a couple of years ago, and this was a must download when I saw it on The band is made up of Rob Brown on alto sax, William Parker an bass, Lewis Barnes on trumpet, Hamid Drake on drums and Leena Conquest on vocals.

It's funny - I usually don't care for traditional jazz singers - if they come from a blues background like Jimmy Witherspoon or Joe Williams, great but except for Ella Fitzgerald and June Tyson female singers have never moved me that much. I think it's because of the dopey love songs which I have little patience for.

Leena Conquest is different - not only is she akin to Sun Ra's great singer (and dancer) June Tyson, but she sings Parker's originals - no inane prater here, Parker talks the talk about life and the search for peace. He's not afraid to approach the difficult subjects - slavery, loneliness and the human condition from a perspective that allows for reflection in a way few jazz vocal performances do - Billie Holiday's "Strange Fruit" and some of Abby Lincoln's performances with Max Roach come to mind.

The band is amazing as well. Drake and Parker are perhaps the preeminent bass and drums unit in jazz today, and Brown has a pinched yearning alto sound reminiscent of Jackie McLean's mid-60's Blue Note recordings. Barnes offers some excellent ensemble and solo support and Parker drives the band from the rear as if he's at the wheel of a fine automobile.

This concert is highly recommended - download it if you can, if not then do yourself a favor and look for the Raining on the Moon CD - it will make you dance... and think

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