New Album and Biography Help Define William Parker

William Parker: Migration of Silence Into and Out of the Tone World (Volumes 1–10)William Parker has been a mainstay of the jazz and avant-garde world for decades. If you’re not familiar with him, now is a great time to jump in. The Bronx-born bassist has added to his prolific catalog with a new 10-disc set of music called Migration of Silence Into and Out of the Tone World that features all new and original works performed by different musicians on each album.

Parker plays bass and other instruments on the massive release, though it mainly focuses on him as a composer and producer. Pieces on the set range in instrumentation from solo expressions and trios to string quartets and nonets.

“Migration of Silence Into and Out of the Tone World (Volumes 1–10) is a 10-album collection of vocal and instrumental suites all recorded expressly for this set between late 2018 and early 2020, with women’s voices at its core,” the liner notes explain. “This is music as empathetic as it is intrepid, as philosophical as it is visceral, as resolutely modernist as it is attuned to tradition. Parker’s art not only draws from the deepest well of African-American culture; it breathes in inspiration from across the globe, with sounds drawn from Africa, Asia, and Indonesia as well as Europe and the Americas; there is free improvisation and re-imagined sonic collage; there are album-length explorations of solo piano and solo voice, along with string ensembles and ancient wind instruments.”

Another avenue for learning about Parker comes in the form of a fantastic new biography by Cisco Bradley, entitled Universal Tonality: The Life and Music of William Parker. The 416-page book documents the bassist/composer’s life with incredible detail, reaching back to cover Parker’s ancestral roots in West Africa, his forefathers’ journey to North Carolina, and his childhood in the Bronx.

In doing so, Bradley paints an elaborate picture of the circumstances that led to Parker’s artistry and activism. Interviews with Parker and his collaborators, family, and friends help to illustrate his rise from the 1970s jazz loft scene in New York City to the present day. The appendix includes a full discography of Parker’s work and nearly 100 pages of notes on the topics from the book’s main chapters. Whether you’re a fan or a newcomer, this is the definitive work on Parker.

Migration of Silence Into and Out of the Tone World (Volumes 1–10) is available now on CD and as a digital download through Bandcamp. Universal Tonality: The Life and Music of William Parker is out now in paperback and Kindle editions.

Migration of Silence Into and Out of the Tone World (Volumes 1–10) Track List:

  1. Listen [Vol. 1: BLUE LIMELIGHT]
  2. Cosmic Funk
  3. I’d Rather Be
  4. A Great Day to be Dead
  5. Jenny’s Interlude
  6. Blue Limelight
  7. Bennie’s Tune
  8. Recall
  9. Kachina Song
  10. All I Ever Want
  11. Where the Angels Live
  12. Old Tears
  13. Malachi’s Mode [Vol. 2: CHILD OF SOUND]
  14. Malcolm’s Smile
  15. This Sweet Land
  16. The Golden Light (Hymn)
  17. Mexico
  18. Broken Promises
  19. Child of Sound
  20. Sky Falling
  21. Adobe House
  22. Rez Sunset
  23. Trail of Tears I
  24. Trail of Tears II
  25. Rez Sunrise
  26. Ascending Earth
  27. Baldwin [Vol. 3: THE MAJESTY OF JAH]
  28. The Majesty of Jah
  29. Freedom
  30. Sun Song
  31. Numbers
  32. Letter To A Resurrected Slave Owner
  33. Entire Universe [Vol. 4: CHEOPS]
  34. Cheops
  35. The Map Is Precise
  36. If We Play Soft Enough
  37. Harriott
  38. Dancing at the Savoy [Vol. 5: HARLEM SPEAKS]
  39. Don’t Sell My Soul
  40. Harlem Dances
  41. Harlem Speaks
  42. Paintings in the Sky
  43. Shutters as Windows
  44. Tilted Mirror [Vol. 6: MEXICO]
  45. Mexico
  46. The Bleeding Tree
  47. It Is for You
  48. Song to Lift Sadness (Morning) [Vol. 7: AFTERNOON POEM]
  49. The Sky is Always Beautiful
  50. Morning Bird
  51. Rocket Man
  52. Essence Calling Out
  53. Afternoon Poem
  54. First Vision
  55. Green and Brown
  56. I Believe
  57. I Will Die for You
  58. Song for Patricia
  59. My Cup
  60. Silent Whispers
  61. It Would Never Be Long Enough
  62. Song to Lift Sadness (Evening)
  63. Cloud And Sea Fading As Rain Falls
  64. Visconti [Vol. 8: LIGHTS IN THE RAIN]
  65. Fellini
  66. Pasolini
  67. Leone
  68. De Sica
  69. Rossellini
  70. Gospel
  71. Milano
  72. Lights in the Rain
  73. Antonioni
  74. The Elders at the Edge of the World part 1 [Vol. 9: THE FASTEST TRAIN]
  75. Cultivation
  76. Deep Spirit
  77. Family Voice
  78. Listen to the Sky
  79. Sacred Prayers
  80. Host for the Anointed
  81. Bamboo Village
  82. Blessed
  83. The Flute Reaches Out
  84. The World’s Fastest Train
  85. Joyous and Delightful
  86. The Elders at the Edge of the World part 2
  87. Charcoal Paragraphs [Vol. 10: MANZANAR]
  88. Khaen
  89. Lakota Song
  90. Manzanar
  91. On Being Native

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