WILLIAM PARKER QUARTET Raining On The Moon (Thirsty Ear) Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Part of bassist William Parker's charm is his breadth. The inspirational heart of the New York free jazz revival can make thrillingly spontaneous music one day, funky beats the next and tightly orchestrated, almost straight-ahead tracks the day after that. Raining On The Moon is largely the latter, with bits of the others popping up when you least expect them. Featuring saxophonist Rob Brown, trumpeter Lewis Barnes and percussionist Hamid Drake, the lyrical compositions here are some of Parker's most memorable and accessible. Of particular note is Song Of Hope, an Arkestra-inspired steamroller of a groove featuring the otherworldly musings of vocalist Leena Conquest. Sun Ra would be proud.