Jan 29, 2021
January 29 marks the release date of Migrations of Silence, an ambitious new 10-disc boxed set of all new and original music by bassist/composer William Parker. Parker, who has spent much of the past fifty years pushing the musical envelope with the likes of Cecil Taylor, David S. Ware, Hamid Drake and Peter Brötzmann, plays music that often defies category or genre. His music touches on everything from the blues to free jazz to European art music. Migrations of Silence contains not only solo piano and vocal pieces but instrumental and vocal suites with female voices, string ensembles, and ancient wind instruments.
Perhaps the best way for the average listener to get into this engaging music is by listening to my conversation with critic and academic Cisco Bradley, who has written the first biography on Parker's life and career entitled Universal Tonality: The Life and Music of William Parker (Duke University Press).That book is officially set for a February 12 release.
Francis (Cisco) Bradley is a scholar of social and cultural history at the Pratt Institute. Throughout his career, his interests have settled on the historical agency exhibited by people marginalized by global or local forces who face myriad challenges including dislocation, cultural destruction, social alienation, or structural or physical violence. Since settling in Brooklyn, Professor Bradley has added a new sub-field to his myriad interests, that of the history of avant-garde jazz in Brooklyn. This project has led him to study the underbelly of New York City, gentrification, structural violence, and avant-garde art forms and how they relate to a far-flung, diverse, globally-drawn community of artists and their social and cultural networks. His website www.jazzrightnow.com chronicles much of his work in this regard.
Podcast 791 is my conversation with Cisco Bradley on William Parker, and features "Leone" from the newly released Migrations of Silence and "Sweet Breeze" by Parker's band Raining on the Moon, a live track from his anthology Wood Flute Song.