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Parker, William / Patricia Nicholson: No Joke! (ESP Disk)

An unapologetically political album from double bassist William Parker in collaboration with poet Patricia Nicholson, confronting injustice and inequality through spoken word set over Parker's compositions, performed with James Brandon Lewis on tenor saxophone, Devin Brahja Waldman on alto saxophone, Francisco Mela on drums, vocals, Melanie Dyer on viola and Gerald Cleaver on drums.
 

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product information:

Personnel:



William Parker-bass

James Brandon Lewis-tenor saxophone

Devin Brahja Waldman-alto saxophone

Francisco Mela-drums, vocals

Patricia Nicholson-spoken word

Melanie Dyer-viola

Gerald Cleaver-drums


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UPC: 825481506724

Label: ESP Disk
Catalog ID: ESPDISK 5067CD
Squidco Product Code: 31050

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack - 3 panel
Recorded at Park West Studios, in Brooklyn, New York, by Jim Clouse.

Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"William Parker's recording career began in 1973 on ESP-Disk' -- Frank Lowe's Black Beings (ESPDISK 3013CD) -- and he returned to ESP in 2017 as a member of Mat Walerian's group Toxic with This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People (ESPDISK 5011CD). Now ESP-Disk' present a new William Parker album in collaboration with his wife Patricia Nicholson. No Joke! is unapologetically political, facing down injustice and inequality and other "in"s with artistic integrity and "outside" music. All music by William Parker, centering music. All words by Patricia Nicholson except "Little Black Kid with the Swollen Stomach" by William Parker."-ESP-Disk"



Press Quotes:

"He stands now as one of the most adventurous and prolific bandleaders in jazz."-David French, DownBeat

"Women With An Axe To Grind...specialized in astonishingly quicksilver seat-of-the-pants exhortation, both guided by and steering Nicholson's movement. There were some tremendous exchanges as Léandre's jagged arco constructs jostled with Mitchell's percolating vocalized flute and Dyer's soaring violin. They all contributed to the theatrical aspect too, with Léandre echoing some of Nicholson's politically-steeped phrases and rounds of harsh sighs fizzing around the stage, in a set which prompted a standing ovation."- John Sharpe, All About Jazz

"William Parker pursues spirituality through hard work. He plays bass as if reaching heaven is a matter of steadily, repeatedly knocking until someone opens the door; he's one of the avant-garde jazz players most dedicated to the pursuit of higher purpose and heightened awareness in music, and he approaches it with a heavy, elemental tone."-Chris Dahlen, Pitchfork

""Patricia Nicholson... is also an outstanding poet and dancer."-Chris Tart, DownBeat

"Parker's creative energies have made him the unofficial mayor of the New York improvisational scene."- Piotr Michalowski, Ann Arbor Observer

"William Parker is a towering figure in 21st century avant-garde music, widely recognised as a crucial link to the heart of free jazz, and a true heavyweight of the double bass."-Daniel Spicer, BBC


Artist Biographies

"William Parker is a bassist, improviser, composer, writer, and educator from New York City, heralded by The Village Voice as, "the most consistently brilliant free jazz bassist of all time."

In addition to recording over 150 albums, he has published six books and taught and mentored hundreds of young musicians and artists.

Parker's current bands include the Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra, In Order to Survive, Raining on the Moon, Stan's Hat Flapping in the Wind, and the Cosmic Mountain Quartet with Hamid Drake, Kidd Jordan, and Cooper-Moore. Throughout his career he has performed with Cecil Taylor, Don Cherry, Milford Graves, and David S. Ware, among others."

-William Parker Website (http://www.williamparker.net/)
5/23/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"James Brandon Lewis (b.1983 Buffalo NY) is a critically acclaimed saxophonist, composer, recording artist and educator . Lewis has received accolades from New York Times, Q Magazine and cultural tastemakers such as Ebony Magazine, who hailed him as one of the "7 Young Players to Watch" in todays scene. Lewis has shared stages with Ken Filiano, Darius Jones, and Jason Hwang, William Parker, Hamiet Bluiett , Hamid Drake , Ravi Coltrane , Jimmy Heath Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Joe Lovano Dave Douglas, Marc Ribot, Anthony Coleman and many others. James Brandon Lewis Lewis has been endorsed by Jazz legend Saxophonist Sonny Rollins " Promising young player with the potential to do great things having listened to the Elders". - Jazz Magazine (France). New York Times had this to say about Lewis " James Brandon Lewis , A Jazz Saxophonist in his 30's, Raw Toned But Measured, Doesn't sound steeped in current jazz academy values There's an Independence about him." James Brandon Lewis Leads numerous ensembles and is the Co- Founder of Poetry Music Ensemble Heroes Are Gang Leaders Lewis attended Howard University and holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts."

-James Brandon Lewis Website (http://www.jblewis.com/bio/)
5/23/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Devin Brahja Waldman is a New York saxophonist, drummer, synthesizer player and composer who leads the group BRAHJA. Waldman has accompanied his aunt, poet Anne Waldman, since the age of ten. Waldman is a co-founding member of Radical Reversal, Diva of Deva Loka, and Notable Deaths. He has performed with Patti Smith, William Parker, Nadah El Shazly, Malcolm Mooney, Thurston Moore, Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Charles Hayward, Luke Stewart and Yoshiko Chuma. Waldman is also a member of NYC's Heroes Are Gang Leaders (led by poet Thomas Sayers Ellis and saxophonist James Brandon Lewis), of Sam Shalabi's Land of Kush, and of the Norwegian hardcore group MoE. As a youngster, Waldman was taken under the wing of avant-garde giant Paul Bley. Along with Anne Waldman and cousin Ambrose Bye, Waldman is a co-producer for Fast Speaking Music -a NYC poetry and music label which has released recordings with Amiri Baraka, Meredith Monk, William Parker, Laurie Anderson, Eileen Myles, CAConrad, Fred Moten, Daniel Carter, Clark Coolidge, Thurston Moore, Joanne Kyger and many others."

-Devin Brahja Waldman Website (http://www.brahjawaldman.com/bio)
5/23/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Francisco Jose Mela is a Cuban drummer and percussionist who has performed with a wide array of prominent international Latin and jazz artists including Kenny Barron, Gary Bartz, JoAnne Brackeen, Jane Bunnett, Regina Carter, Anat Cohen, Paquito D'Rivera, George Garzone, Larry Grenadier, Stefon Harris, Lionel Loueke, Joe Lovano, Jason Moran, John Patitucci, John Scofield, Esperanza Spalding, Mark Turner, McCoy Tyner, Chucho Valdés, Kenny Werner, and many others.

Born in Bayamo, Cuba, Francisco Mela studied at the Music School of Arts El Yarey as a teenager before furthering his studies at the National School of Arts for Teachers, el CENCEA. He taught at Rafael's Cabrera Conservatory of Music and played with some of the country's top Latin jazz musicians, as well as leading his group, MelaSon Latin Jazz Band, that toured throughout Mexico. In 2000, he moved to Boston to study at Berklee College of Music and was invited to join the percussion faculty. He became the house drummer at the Wally's Café. It was here where he developed the concept for what would later be his own group.

In 2005, Mela joined the quartet of saxophonist Joe Lovano. Of particular note was the group's 2008 album on Blue Note entitled Folk Art.Later that year, Mela was approached by McCoy Tyner to join his trio.

Mela was named the Twin Cities Jazz Festival's first artistic director in 2014, Before appointment, he served as artistic director for the Xalapa Jazz Festival in Veracruz, Mexico (2010-2013).

In late 2016, Mela was part of an inaugural ensemble that joined Afro-Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés and saxophonist Joe Lovano for an international tour throughout Europe and North America. He also leads his own group, The Crash Trio."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francisco_Mela)
5/23/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Patricia Nicholson's dance is steeped in the aesthetic of freejazz with an attention to spiritual and social responsibility. Beginning with the belief that dance is the visual manifestation of sound and energy, Ms. Nicholson has developed a singular practice, one drawing from both traditional and unconventional techniques to create an eclectic yet intuitive approach to movement and composition.

Patricia Nicholson has been writing and publicly sharing her poetry since childhood. Though she gives occasional readings, Nicholson's poems are most often tied to performance, whether serving as a written score for dancers or accompanying, rather than guiding, creative movement.

There is a choreography to Nicholson's approach to programming. She curates evenings with a deliberate arc, while emphasizing a dynamic flow and messaging. Her goal is to design nights that create a complete experience and engage audiences in active, and creative, witnessing.

Nicholson's widest-reaching influence has perhaps been in her capacity as an artistic and community organizer. In 1981, Nicholson choreographed and organized A Thousand Cranes Peace Opera, with 1,000 children performing in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza for the opening of the Special Sessions on Disarmament; in the mid- and late-1980s, she responded to a lack of visibility for free jazz by helping to organize the Sound Unity Festivals. In 1994, Nicholson brought together fifty artists to form The Improvisors Collective, whose highlights over the next two years included weekly events at Context Studios, 28 Ave A. Following that success, in 1996, Nicholson founded Arts For Art and the Vision Festival to promote and advocate for free jazz, raising awareness through this notable and uncommonly visible platform. Since, AFA has grown to be a movement that supports hundreds of artists annually working with the free jazz aesthetic.

After decades of creative production, programming, and organization, Nicholson's has begun focusing on developing strategies for the future: how to better the world in which we live; how to inspire, grow, and build a diverse community of uncompromising artists and audiences; and, most immediately, how to build a sustainable structure for AFA that will outlive her service and serve as a fitting legacy, one steeped in the ideals of artistic excellence and community responsibility she holds most dear. In her own words, "This is my 70th year; there is both a community to sustain, and the creative expression of my own art, yet to be shared. I am humbled by our collective creativity waiting to be expressed." "

-Patricia Nicholson Website (https://www.patricianicholsonparker.com/bio)
5/23/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Melanie Dyer performs and composes in creative, improvised and through-composed music spheres. She trained with William Lincer (Principal Violist, New York Philharmonic), Lee Yeingst (Principal Violist, Colorado Symphony Orchestra), John Jake Kella (NY Metropolitan Opera) and Naomi Fellows (Colorado Symphony Orchestra); and studied viola performance at the LaMont School of Music/University of Denver.

Melanie founded WeFreeStrings, an improvising string/rhythm collective rooted in improvised music in 2011. ​From 2004 - 2013, under her Bb Universe banner and in collaboration with the multi-generational, multi-ethnic Scientific Soul Sessions collective, Melanie's Harlem home became the scene of underground public performances by WeFreeStrings and other large and small music ensembles. Bb Universe hosted open rehearsals and performances, recordings, lectures, one-act plays and films including presentations by recognized indigenous activists Toaksin Ghosthorse, a performance of Robbie McCauley's Sally's Rape and a screening of John Douglas' documentary, Grenada: The Future Coming Towards Us. These monthly and semi-monthly events brought cultural luminaries, emerging artists, social and environmental activists, working and under-employed people together. Open dialogues, emphasizing individuals as agents of change, were central to Bb Universe and Scientific Soul Sessions.​Melanie currently performs with the Sun Ra Arkestra, Heroes Are Gang Leaders, Gwen Laster's New Muse 4tet, William Parker, Tomeka Reid Stringtet, Patricia Nicholson's Women w an Axe to Grind. She's played and/or recorded with Henry Grimes, Nona Hendryx, Joe Bonner, Reggie Workman, Howard Johnson, and a many other notable musicians in Europe, South Africa and across the U.S.

Recordings include WeFreeStrings Fulfillment (Indepstrings, 2018), David Haney's Birth of a City (2019), Come Sunday (T. Cumberbatch, 2015); Fred Ho & Quincy Saul Present the Music of Cal Massey: A Tribute (2011); Live at St Nick's Pub, Salim Washington & Donald Smith Ensemble, Cadence Records (2007); With Strings, Salim Washington & The Harlem Arts Ensemble, CIMP Records (2007); Harlem Homecoming, Salim Washington & The Harlem Arts Ensemble, UJam Records (2005), and others. WeFreeStrings has received project support from New Music USA, Chamber Music America, Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, and individual donors."

-Arts for Art (https://www.artsforart.org/blog/melanie-dyer-artist-profile)
5/23/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.

"Gerald Cleaver (born May 4, 1963) is an African-American jazz drummer from Detroit, Michigan. Cleaver's father is drummer John Cleaver Jr., originally from Springfield, Ohio, and his mother was from Greenwood, Mississippi. Gerald had six older siblings. Cleaver joined the jazz faculty at the University of Michigan in 1995. He has performed or recorded with Joe Morris, Mat Maneri, Roscoe Mitchell, Miroslav Vitous, Michael Formanek, Tomasz Sta ko, Franck Amsallem and others.

Under the name Veil of Names, Cleaver released an album called Adjust on the Fresh Sounds New Talent label in 2001. It featured Maneri, Ben Monder, Andrew Bishop, Craig Taborn and Reid Anderson and was a Best Debut Recording Nominee by the Jazz Journalists Association. Cleaver currently leads the groups Uncle June, Black Host, Violet Hour and NiMbNl as well as working as a sideman with many different artists."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerald_Cleaver_(musician))
5/23/2024

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.


Track Listing:



1. Flare Up 19:01

2. Little Black Kid with the Swollen Stomach 9:07

3. Struggle 5:39

4. Wilted Light as Flower 11:20

5. No Joke! 21:37

Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Spoken Word
Parker, William

Search for other titles on the label:
ESP Disk.


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