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William Parker Quartet 

Sound Unity (Aum Fidelity)

The latest album by the William Parker Quartet, arguably N.Y.C.'s most dynamic jazz ensemble of the new century, presents a vision that is both adventurous and accessible.

With its distinguished front line of Rob Brown (alto sax) and Lewis Barnes (trumpet), Sound Unity carries on a melodic tradition that bounces with freestyle rhythmic energy, feinting here and there with oblique singsong phrases that are at once beautiful and unusual -- and sometimes even catchy, as on the sun-spirited "Hawaii." Underpinned by Parker's on-point bass lines and Hamid Drake's speaking-in-tongues drumming, tunes like the title track, "Wood Flute Song," and "Harlem" convey deep roots in the blues and Africa-rich grooves without resorting to clichés. The disc's most abstract piece, "Poem for June Jordan," communicates Parker's message of oneness, where tradition and forward motion thrive together in peace.

More by Sam Prestianni

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