New World Pygmies vol.2
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Eremite continues its documentation of this remarkable duo, who have played together since 1973, with a double c/d set (140+ minutes) featuring two concert recordings from a 2000 tour. on both versions of "new world pygmies," parker's recent interest in double-reed instruments & moondoc's introduction of a soprano saxophone move their music into realms of joyfully non-tempered playing recalling the Master Musicians of Jajouka. elsewhere the bass & alto join for ravishing performances of compositions from both musicians' books. on disc 2, Hamid Drake is inducted as an honorary pygmy for a concert at chicago's legendary velvet lounge, an emotionally charged homecoming for moondoc with much of his family in attendance & a queue out the door all night.
Bassist William Parker & saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc's ongoing New World Pygmies series attempts to reconcile the ritual, horizon-spanning beauty of pymgy music with secular, urban blues. Recorded over two concerts, the second at Fred Anderson's Velvet Lounge in Chicago, the performances on Volume II sound like invocations, as if they're out to raise the dead. The first set pairs Moondoc's "Spirit House" with Parker's "O'Neal's Porch". Compared to their earlier, joyous big band incarnations, these versions are as tight as new pants, with Parker's bass walking the city skyline, while Moondoc rains down little spurts of sax. The first of two takes of "New World Pygmies" moves someplace else entirely, as Parker switches between Bombard & gralle --two double-reeded ethnic instruments that sound like they are tearing the sky. Combined with Moondoc's soprano, they conjure buzzing swarms of insects. On the second disc, they're joined by master drummer Hamid Drake for a set that moves deeper into the blues, featuring Moondoc's vocalized horn at its most pained & expressive.
-- David Keenan, The Wire
Cat. number: MTE-30/31