A beautiful box of work from bassist William Parker – and a set that actually features three very different projects, all brought together in a single set! First up is a CD that features a long piece commissioned by The Kitchen – "For Fannie Lou Hamer" – with music by Parker in an ensemble that includes JD Parran on reeds, Ravi Best on trumpet, Masahiko Kono on trombone, and a bit of vocals from Leena Conquest
. That same CD features shorter pieces grouped under the title Vermeer – dedicated to the painter, and featuring some beautiful, soulful work from Parker on bass, Darryl Foster on soprano sax, Eri Yamamoto on piano, and Leena Conquest
on voice. CD two features Red Giraffe With Dreadlocks – a lot better than it sounds from the title, and spiritual sounds from an ensemble that mixes core jazz elements with some wider global musical ideas – featuring Parker on bass, Hamid Drake on drums, Rob Brown on alto, Bill Cole on double reed instruments, Klaas Heckman on flute, Molla Sylla on mbira and ngoni, and Sangeeta Bandyopadhyay on electronic shruti box. Both Sylla and Bandyopadhyay vocalize a bit – and titles include "The Giraffe Cances", "Where Do You Send The Poem", "Tour Of The Flying Poem", and "Souls Have Fallen Like Rain". Last is Ceremonies For Those Who Are Still – which features a core trio with Parker on bass and flutes, Charles Gayle on piano and saxes, and Mike Reed on drums – augmented by the NFM Orchestra, who shade in the jazz performances with some subtle colors and tones – quite an unusual match between these talents. The CD also features a long improvisation – "Escapade For Sonny" – running over 25 minutes, and just featuring the core trio of Parker, Gayle, and Reed. Packaged in a very nice box, with a booklet of notes!