Monday, May 9, 2022

Eri Yamamoto, Chad Fowler, William Parker, Steve Hirsh - Sparks (Mahakala, 2022)

Eri Yamamoto is a delightful pianist. She has been recording as a leader since 2001, to judge from her page. In 2008 she recorded Duologue, a series of duos with Federico Ughi on drums, Hamid Drake on the same, Parker on bass, and Daniel Carter on alto and tenor sax. “Subway Song” is pure, romantic, public transportation pleasure. To shine against that many stars is impressive. Start there if you want to sample her work. You might also check out Cobalt Blue, one of her trio albums. If you are looking for romance and drama, here you go.

Sparks has Chad Fowler on stritch and saxello. I gather that these are experimental saxophones. The experiment was a success. William Parker plays bass and Steve Hirsh drums.

The most interesting thing to me was the fourth cut: “Three Bob’s Pink Cadillac”. I have been listening to William Parker’s two-disc album Bob’s Pink Cadillac since it came out in 2001. The tribute to that magnificent recording on Sparks is good work. It starts with Parker’s signature step by thump statement. Memory flexed its muscles. Fowler’s horn saut├ęs the general them to golden brown and them we get a superb four way dialogue with bass and horn trading themes while drums and piano fill the space in and around them. It’s the wee hours toward the end when each voice becomes perfectly articulate. I would add that I seem to hear echoes of “A love supreme” in Parker’s lines.

“Four Taiko” begins with Fowler’s mournful pleading over Parker, with the horn fraying into an intense screech. Drums keep up a steady layer and Yamamoto’s piano pains into the gaps. We get a nice solo from Parker, and then a blend of the rhythm section’s savory flavors.

“One Sparks” is a marvelous example of how to get different arrangements of players, not these three, now that two, to keep the relay race going. The horn almost always dominates, but now the thump or slice of the bass bubbles up and now the drum skins and keys.

You won’t be sorry you grabbed this one from Bandcamp

One final note. We do recently recorded jazz here at FJB, but I think some tips to earlier music is order. Today I listened to The John Lindberg Ensemble, A Tree Frog Tonality. Wadada Leo Smith, Larry Ochs, and Andrew Cyrille assembling.


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