William Parker - Universal Tonality | RECORD STORE DAY

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Universal Tonality
Artist: William Parker
Format: CD


Rel. Date: 09/30/2022
UPC: 642623103029

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William Parker's Universal Tonality documents an epic performance which brings his titular concept to full, vibrant life. An exquisite example of this system in practice, it features a truly once-in-a-lifetime assembly of creative music luminaries and legends.

Clocking in at nearly two hours and featuring six extended pieces flowing across two discs, this Universal Tonality happening took place in December 2002. Parker invited 16 musicians of various ages, cultures and musical backgrounds - to join him in an experiment of "breathing together." Many of them met on stage for the first time that evening. While he provided a score (wonderfully illustrated pages from same are included in the package), all were advised that there need not be adherence to it. Parker's hope with this approach is that each musician will trust their own instincts - and those of the musicians around them - enough to let the sound find its shape in real time. Ranging from roof-raising big band to intimate cross-cultural exchanges, that constant current of inspiration, and open, receptive communication was wholly present at Roulette that night, and is on full display on this magical recording.

Lyrics and personal writings by Parker - which Leena Conquest sings, recites, or dramatically interprets - also play a key role in this work. Parker gave Conquest the same freedom of choice he afforded the instrumentalists, supplying her with materials to draw on as she saw fit.

When discussing or writing on his Universal Tonality concept as a whole (as on the enclosed, extensive liner notes), Parker can sound like he's outlining a life philosophy. It is both telling and fitting that author Cisco Bradley chose to title his 2021 biography of William Parker after this concept.

The results of this one-night-only communion can now take their place among Parker's many landmark works spanning the past three decades, including previously released Universal Tonality-driven pieces like Double Sunrise Over Neptune, and Red Giraffe with Dreadlocks (released on the box set For Those Who Are, Still).