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Parker, Christopher / The Band of Guardian Angels: Soul Food (Mahakala Music)

An open and free album of modern jazz evoking loft-style collective improvisation but controlled under the compositions of pianist Christopher Parker, in his debut album as a leader with the incredibly talented sextet of Kelley Hurt on vocals, Daniel Carter on winds, Jaimie Branch on trumpet, William Parker on bass and Gerald Cleaver on drums
 

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product information:


UPC: 195269114275

Label: Mahakala Music
Catalog ID: MAHA-016
Squidco Product Code: 31695

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack - 3 panel
Recorded at Park West Studios, in Brooklyn New York, in June, 2019, by Jim Clouse.


Personnel:

Christopher Parker-piano

Kelley Hurt-vocals

Daniel Carter-winds

Jaimie Branch-trumpet

William Parker-bass

Gerald Cleaver-drums

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Artist Biographies:

"New York based pianist Chris Parker is a multifaceted performer and composer who has written for everything from small jazz groups and chamber ensembles to full symphony orchestra. With a long list of original works, he heads his own group that offers a diverse, lineup of Latin, funk and straight-ahead jazz. Contemporary jazz icons Randy Brecker, Bob Mintzer, Chris Vadala and Lyn Seaton have all performed with Parker's band.

Originally from Portland, Oregon, Parker started classical piano lessons at age nine. Eventually earning Bachelors and Masters degrees in music composition, Parker moved to New York where he has been Professor of Music and head of jazz studies at SUNY Orange. A New York Chancellor's Award winner, Parker engages and inspires students as he teaches them the skills they will need as future musicians.

His two CDs on the OA2 label, "Late in Lisbon" and the newly released "Full Circle" feature the unusual frontline of saxophone and violin. The albums are an exciting mix of Parker's original jazz compositions ranging in style from burning latin and straight ahead, to funky tunes and laid back ballads."

-Christopher Parker Website (https://www.chrisparkerjazz.com/bio)
5/18/2022

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

Kelley Hurt is an American jazz singer, known for the groups Dopolarians, George Cartwright/Chad Fowler/Steve Hirsh/Chris Parker, and The Music of Frank Lowe.

-Squidco 5/18/2022

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

"Daniel Carter (born December 28, 1945, in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania) is an American experimental saxophone, flute, clarinet, and trumpet player active mainly in New York City since the early 1970s.

Carter is a prolific performer and has recorded or performed with William Parker, Federico Ughi, DJ Logic, Thurston Moore, Yo La Tengo, Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Sonic Youth, scientist/musician Matthew Putman, Cooper-Moore, Sam Rivers, David S. Ware, Yoko Ono, Living Colour, Medensky Martin and Wood and Jaco Pastorius among others. He is a member of the cooperative free jazz groups TEST and Other Dimensions In Music."

-577 Records (http://www.577records.com/danielcarter/)
5/18/2022

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

"Jaimie Breezy Branch (born 17 June 1983) is an American jazz trumpeter and composer.

Branch was raised in Red Hook, Brooklyn and started playing trumpet at age nine. At 14, she moved to Wilmette, a suburb of Chicago, before attending the New England Conservatory of Music (graduating in 2005). Later she moved back to Chicago, working as a musician, organizer and sound engineer on the local music scene, including with Jason Ajemian (on The Art of Dying, 2006), Keefe Jackson's Project Project (on Just Like This, 2007), and Tim Daisy' s New Fracture Quartet (on 1000 Lights, 2008), Anton Hatwich and Ken Vandermark. She has performed in Chicago and New York with her trio Princess, Princess, with bassist Toby Summerfield and drummer Frank Rosaly, and in trios with Tim Daisy and Daniel Levin, Matt Schneider and Jason Adasiewicz, and with Chris Velkommen/Sam Weinberg. Together with Jason Stein, Jeb Bishop and Jason Roebke, she founded the band Block and Tackle. To jazz she has contributed on five albums between 2006 and 2008.

In 2012 Branch moved to Baltimore, where she earned a master's degree in Jazz performance from Towson University. At this time she also founded the record label Pionic Records, where she releases the music of her group Bomb Shelter. In New York she has worked with Brandon Lopez, Fred Lonberg-Holm and Mike Stolthet among others. In addition, she performed on albums with the independent rock groups Never Enough Hope, Local H and Atlas Math. Currently, she works in a quartet with Chad Taylor (drums), Jason Ajemian (bass) and Tomeka Reid (cello), as well as with Brandon Lopez, Mike Pride, Shayna Dulberger and Weasel Walter, and with Yoni Kretzmer and Tobey Cederberg. She names Don Cherry, Axel Dörner, Booker Lite and Miles Davis among her musical influences. In 2017 she released her debut solo album, Fly or Die, with Tomeka Reid, Jason Ajemian, Chad Taylor, Matt Schneider (guitar), Ben LaMar Gay, and Josh Berman (cornet)."

-Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaimie_Branch)
5/18/2022

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

"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/)
5/18/2022

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))
5/18/2022

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


1. Morning Ritual 08:35

2. Guardian Angels 13:38

3. Over Your Own Two Feet 10:04

4. Truth and Fiction 15:00

5. Soul Food 07:24
sample the album:








descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Pianist Christopher Parker brings southern soul to the New York free jazz scene. Parker and his wife Kelley Hurt, frequent collaborators with the likes of Frank Lowe, Alvin Fielder and Kidd Jordan are joined by legends in the avant-garde world including Daniel Carter, William Parker, Gerald Cleaver, and Jaimie Branch. From Memphis soul and blues to Albert Ayler to Bartok, Soul Food takes the listener on a vast journey of musical styles from a band of master improvisers."-Mahakala Music



"Soul food, food for the soul. Greens, okra, fresh tomatoes, all the food from the earth to nourish us. Sounds of harmony, rhythm, and soulfulness, also to nourish our souls. The antidote to the ugliness and division in our world. Guardian Angels, here to deliver meals from on high. High notes, low notes, everything in between, feeding us with love and rhythms that rock us into a better world. Sounds fill our ears, lift our spirits, put us at ease, and heal our bodies. These are the tools of the Guardians. Sound, like food, to bring forth health and peace. We offer these to the listener and hope you will eat and listen to this music."-from the liner notes



"Soul Food is pianist Christopher Parker's debut album, but that doesn't mean he's a rookie. He's spent 30 years being a sideman for many live bands and has only recently gotten around to forming his own little group. And what a group it is. Calling themselves the Band of Guardian Angels, there is Parker's wife Kelley Hurt on vocals, Daniel Carter on saxophone, flute, and trumpet, Jamie Branch on trumpet, William Parker on bass, and Gerald Cleaver on drums. "I picked the players I did on purpose," explains Christopher Parker in the liner notes, though he hardly needs to justify himself. When you have the connections to make a supergroup happen, why wouldn't you use them?

That doesn't make Soul Food an easy listen. If you are unaccustomed to free jazz, then your ear could use a little stretching before pressing play. The moment "Guardian Angels" begins, it's as though you've opened the door to a free jam session already in progress. As Cleaver rolls over his snare and William Parker saws away with his bow, Christopher Parker is playing an impossibly intricate melody that, against all odds, repeats itself to demonstrate its deliberate nature (just like Cecil Taylor). With only three instruments playing in the first few seconds, a storm has already brewed. When Hurt's vocals make an entrance, it's clear that her voice serves as another instrument alongside Carter and Branch rather than a vehicle for lyrics. Her sustained moans make for a good match with the flute and trumpet, seeing as how none of them are going crazy like the rhythm section still is. Christopher Parker and one of the trumpets then lock into a contrary motion that lets him perform rapidly ascending trills. One trumpet solos with a mute and the other one without, creating an eye for the storm.

"Morning Ritual" is tranquil in dynamics but tense in interplay. Starting with William Parker on the shakuhachi flute, Hurt enters the picture but does a spectacularly confounding job of singing quietly but still at full force. The simmer gradually turns to a boil as the two trumpets play off one another's non-musical utterances, and Christopher Parker's piano contributes to the harmonic tension. Under other circumstances, "Over Your Own Two Feet" would not feel like a release to said tension, but on Soul Food, that's what you get. Naturally, it doesn't stay that way for long. The longer the track lasts, the more the dynamics build and build. Things don't exactly go wild, instead opting to build a sturdy framework for Christopher Parker to play seemingly every note he can in a given space.

At seven-and-a-half minutes, the title track is the shortest one here. William Parker is back on the shakuhachi flute while Christopher Parker scrapes his fingers over the piano strings. Cleaver turns his attention to cymbal swells, creating a nebulous foundation for everyone to do whatever they feel like doing. From there, "Soul Food" is the sound of everyone simultaneously searching for purpose, unity, and resolution. They find it together many times over, but that doesn't stop them from pushing ahead some more. "Truth and Fiction" follows as the longest track at 15 minutes, closing out the album. Cleaver solos for about a minute before bringing Carter and Christopher Parker in to paint the available space with broad strokes. Branch, for her part, relies on more traditional melodic figures because using her horn as means for hollow breaths and barely-buzzed utterances (just like Natsuki Tamura). Overall, the song finds Soul Food wrapping up in a subtler way than its mad opener.

Soul Food is an impressive if not totally compelling album. There was a lot of freedom and excitement that went into making it, and there is a chance they might be lost on some listeners who prefer to have their jazz take a more conventional shape. On a technical level, it's impressive that jazz this free can be played with so much restraint. Christopher Parker hammers away most of the time, but it's Carter, Branch, and especially Hurt who have perfected the art of playing it close to the chest while dishing it out at high energy. That is the main takeaway here. Aside from that, Soul Food is a stepping stone for Christopher Parker in finding his voice as a bandleader."-John Garratt, Pop Matters


Get additional information at Pop Matters
Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
Improvised Music
Jazz
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Unusual Vocal Forms
Sextet Recordings
Parker, William
New in Improvised Music
Recent Releases and Best Sellers


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