Mayan Space Station (bandcamp link) by William Parker.
This album is surprising people in that it includes some rather raucous playing from Ava Mendoza on Electric Guitar. I guess, typically, we associate Mr Parker with acoustic instruments. (In fact, the only other electric guitar player I can think of, off the top of my head, that Mr Parker has played and recorded with a few times, is Joe Morris, (I’m sure there are others.)).
One way to describe the album would be “groove oriented”.
Basically the songs’ moods are set at the beginning by a short sequence of gestures from all three artists. The artists then repeat those gestures with theme and variation for the duration of the tune.
All three artists pursue their individual theme and variation simultaneously with each other. There aren’t many points where one or another of the artists drops out and allows the others to take center stage or to do a featured solo.
As far as I can tell, there aren’t any chord changes, per se, more a tonal space within each song operates.
The only tune which seems to really contain different zones of expression, is the title song, Mayan Space Station, where Mr Parker switches from plucked to bowed bass about midway through, giving the second half a different feel.
While the Rawk-Us electric guitar makes the album initially appealing in an obvious way to Rawk-heads, the density of the three artists’ gestures and the unrelenting pace of expression are ultimately not very Rock-ish.
It is a very dense album to unpack, with great playing from all three artists, but even after a week of listening, I still can’t quite decide how I feel about it.
Is it Expressionist Rock or Noisy Jazz?
I don’t know, and I don’t know if it matters, but it will definitely propel you into a different (head) space.
Mayan Space Station [AUM115]
William Parker: bass, compositions
Ava Mendoza: electric guitar
Gerald Cleaver: drums