Robert Indiana,, (1963-) 1980

David S. Ware
Planetary Unknown
AUM Fidelity : 2011

David S. Ware, saxophones; Cooper-Moore, piano; William Parker, bass; Muhammed Ali, drums.

We are thrilled to present the next installment of our Five Spot series, selected and described by bassist/composer/bandleader William Parker. Parker, who often references other musicians in his work, writes about five inspiring performances of significant importance to him. In Parker’s monumental new box set Wood Flute Songs, there are major compositions dedicated to several of the people discussed below (Ware; Kalaparusha; and Bang). Wood Flute Songs was recently named “#1 Archival Release of the Year” by The Wire. We highly recommend it as well!

William  Parker

William Parker. Photo by Žiga Koritnik.

1) Kalaparusha Ahra Difda AKA Maurice McIntyre, “Behold! God’s Sunshine!” (Forces and Feelings, Delmark, 1972). The late Kalaparusha Ahra Difda AKA Maurice McIntyre was one of the most important musicians who came out of the AACM. He had a New York sensibility and in his heyday was a major force in the music. This is from his second recording under his own name. The song expresses a wide range of spiritual messages, as does the entire recording — seven compositions (prayers) that, when listened to repeatedly, echo the sentiment and power of God’s Sunshine.

This is a special late sixties, early seventies music that served as a source of inspiration for the black community and all communities who could hear and feel the energy. This was part of the New Black Music in America. Kalaparusha’s saxophone playing was powerful, bright, and filed with Light. Fred Hopkins is shining throughout. In fact, all the musicians shine.
Personnel: Kalaparusha, tenor sax, clarinet, flute; Sarnie Garrett, guitar; Fred Hopkins, bass; Wesley Tyrus, drums; Rita Omolokun (Worford), vocals.

2) David S. Ware, “Shift” (Planetary Unknown, AUM Fidelity, 2011).
All the music on this album falls in the category of beautifully generous sound; it flows moment to moment. I was in the David S. Ware groups since 1981. I rarely listen to recordings once they are done; listening to this music was a surprise and revelation to me. These sounds are in the realm of true Soul music because they travel through many moods and dimensions taking us on a journey that goes directly into the soul. It is also a cathartic blues-based music that is being played in the moment without a predictable outcome.
Personnel: David S. Ware, saxophones; Cooper-Moore, piano; William Parker, bass; Muhammed Ali, drums.

3) Bill Dixon, “Velvet” (November 1981, Soul Note, 1982).
This recording is very important to me as it was recorded the same day — November 8, 1981 — I recorded an album with Cecil Taylor called Calling It the Eighth. Bill Dixon played first at the festival in Zurich, then the New Cecil Taylor unit played. Bill graciously introduced us. The music Bill played that afternoon was breathtakingly beautiful. I was convinced if the wind were to blow through a trumpet, you would have Bill Dixon.
Personnel: Bill Dixon, trumpet; Alan Silva, bass; Mario Pavone, bass; Lawrence Cook, bass.

Joe Morris/Mat Maneri
Soul Search
AUM Fidelity: 2000

4) The language Joe Morris and Mat Maneri are using expresses still another kind of landscape, and this music is beautiful in an entirely different way. They make quick changes and within each sound there is a complete musical universe.

Nothing is missing; they are transforming sound into tone. The tone changes and is held together with rhythms and melodic fragments. Listen to how it trances around itself creating a web that captures and frees at the same time.
Personnel: Joe Morris, electric guitar; Mat Maneri, electric violin.

5) Billy Bang, “Reconciliation” (Vietnam: Reflections, Justin Time, 2005).
The music on this recording meant a lot to Billy Bang. I know he put a tremendous amount of work into its preparation. Going to the Vietnam War ripped his life apart. Playing the violin helped to reconnect him with the light and the living. Billy was a great composer and visionary; his music was always emotional, spiritual, and political. He knew how to reach people. When he played the violin, he touched the core of a human being. One’s spirit could not resist being uplifted, even with the sadness expressed in the music.
Personnel: Billy Bang, violin; James Spaulding, flute, alto sax; Henry Threadgill, flute; Ted Daniel, trumpet; Butch Morris, conductor; John Hicks, piano; Curtis Lundy, bass; Michael Carvin, drums; Ron Brown, percussion; Co Boi Nguyen, vocalist; Nhan Thanh Ngo, dan tranh.

Category Five Spot, guest posts, William Parker