Sunday, May 2, 2010

William Hooker - Earth's Orbit (NoBusiness, 2010) ****½ & ***½

This double vinyl LP by William Hooker is one worth having, if alone for the first record, called "Bliss (East)". It is recorded live at The Stone in New York in 2007, with Darius Jones on sax and Adam Lane on bass. From start to finish it represents everything you expect from stellar free jazz: it is powerful, energetic, unrelenting, raw, creative, expressive, soulful, with all three musicians giving their absolute deepest self in their playing. Darius Jones is magnificent, but so are Hooker and Lane. Yet it is not all raw power. Hooker's drum solo is introvert as compared to the first side of the record, and the last piece starts with a great bass intro, mid-tempo with sax and drums joining full of subtlety and sensitivity, with evolving levels of intensity, ending in absolute gut-wrenching drama, followed by a few subtle sobs.

The second record of the album, "Bliss (West)", was recorded  in 2009 at The Hemlock Tavern in San Francisco, with Aaron Bennett on tenor, Weasel Walter on guitar and Damon Smith on bass, and of course Hooker on drums. The approach is quite different, with a more rock attitude, full of anger and violence, yet it is working on a different plane: the approach is more direct, simpler in a way, less impactful and less convincing in my opinion. There is more attitude than musical power. It is odd in a way. It has its great moments. A trio without the guitar may have sounded different, and may have provided better continuity with the first record.

As it stands now, you get to see two of the many faces of William Hooker. But the first record is absolutely stunning. I wish the concert could have been spread over the entire album.

Buy from Instantjazz.

© stef

4 comments:

Richard said...

This is now the second time I have heard great things about Darius Jones. (Can't think of the other.) Any suggestions on the best place to hear him? I don't have a turntable.

Stef said...

His Man'ish Boy got general acclaim, and is more accessible (http://www.aumfidelity.com/aum057.html)

Little Women is a new one by him, just released, review will follow shortly.

cheers
stef

joesh said...

Try these :

William Hooker pt 1 & 2 :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhW1X-EdMec
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E29TMenzC9Q&feature=related

Enjoy.

Guy said...

I've been looking forward to this release for quite awhile, as it brings together a few favorite musiciancs. Plus: the No Business releases are always impeccably packaged