"Those in the music business say this music can only be so successful. I say there is no limit to what we can do for each other as human beings." - William Parker
"Over the past three decades, bassist and composer WILLIAM PARKER has established himself as one of the premier improvising musicians on the international scene. Born in the Bronx-NY, Mr. Parker studied bass with Milt Hinton, Richard Davis and Jimmy Garrison. His first recording session was the 1973 date that produced the classic Frank Lowe/Joseph Jarman album 'Black Beings' on the ESP label. In the near 30 years since then, Mr. Parker's playing/presence has dignified well over one hundred sessions, and the list of those with whom he has collaborated reads like a who's who of the post-Trane tradition. He has composed scores for dance, opera, film and theatre, while also working as a poet, an educator, and an organizer for several music festivals. He writes: "it is the role of the artist to incite political, social, and spiritual revolution, to awaken us from our sleep and never let us forget our obligations as human beings, to light the fire of human compassion. Sounds that enlighten are infinite. We can put no limit to joy, or on our capacity for love."
The 90's saw a growing appreciation of William Parker's profundity outside the very narrow realms of the jazz vanguard. It was early in this decade that William took on the band leadership role that had long been urged on him by his fellow musicians. His talents as a composer and sound organizer became quickly evident through his still very active large ensemble - The Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra, his smaller group concept - In Order To Survive (which is in the process of being REformed), and the collective quartet Other Dimensions In Music. In addition, William is a root foundation member of the David S. Ware Quartet and the ensembles of Matthew Shipp. His relatively recent hookup with Chicago-based master drummer Hamid Drake (initially through Peter Brotzmann's 'Die Like A Dog' group), will soon be bearing further fruit, the likes of which you and I have never...
Vision Festival New York
Daniel Carter: Underground Anarchist
September 1999 / By Nils Jacobson
Daniel Carter is not exactly a household name. The Saxophonist/trumpeter has been making improvised music for decades, but he still remains largely unknown. Obscurity did not arise because he intentionally kept a low profile. Quite the contrary: hes worked with some of the most influential figures on the avant garde music scene, such as Cecil Taylor and Sun Ra.
In order to better understand the Carter phenomenon, one must appreciate his commitment to functional anarchism. Anarchism, according to Carter, represents the idea of people freely associating, and deciding for themselves individually and collectively what they want to do-- minus governmental interference or hierarchical social structures. His ideals may seem unrealistic in this era of big government and conservative social thinking, but Carter has made them the core of his career.
To actualize his vision, Carter seeks out collective groups where each member equally shares the responsibility of leadership. I feel most fortunate that most every group that I play in is a musical collective, he says. One of his most exciting recent projects is a free jazz quartet called TEST, which released its first record in 1999 after performing for seven years on the streets and in the subways of New York City. In the TEST collective, every player shares the burden of composition; the resulting music overflows with spontaneity and heartfelt personal expression.
To the extent that he has made anarchism his guiding philosophy, Carter has eschewed situations of hierarchical structure. By degrees in NYC since 1970, I would run the other way, rather than be a leader or a sideman, he explains. I believe that the Spirit is the leader. Unfortunately, jazz promoters and publicists usually look for groups led by individuals, in order to make it easier for them to get the word out to the listening public. By working in collectives, a musician pays the price of indifference from the people who control record contracts and performance scheduling. The net result: major challenges to his career.
But being excluded from the mainstream hasnt kept Daniel Carter from playing on the street in NYC since 1978. Carter played solo saxophone in various areas of downtown New York on a weekly basis for over ten years. While its not a lucrative business, street performance pays in the way that counts the most. Carter explains: I think some of us are so poor that every two or three dollars that we get counts. But, like Sabir [Mateen] said [in Jazz Times], its more about feeding the soul than the pocketbook.
TEST MAKES THE GRADE: Daniel Carter, Sabir Mateen, Matt Heyner, Tom Bruno
SATURNALIA STRING TRIO with DANIEL CARTER
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