William Parker: Mayan Space Station
with Ava Mendoza & Gerald Cleaver
Bassist William Parker is a veritable force of propulsion, a musician who gets inside of time so completely that he can find endless permutations, accents, and displacements within the most foursquare setting. Of course, when he partners with drummer Gerald Cleaver there’s nothing basic or rigid in their collective groove-making.
The pair’s elasticity and drive has proven to be one of the best contexts for the rangy improvisations of electric guitarist Ava Mendoza, giving her an ideal frame that benefits her cutting lines, slashing riffs, and billowing textures. She’s a fearless improviser rooted in the language of rock and her knack for stylistic detours thrives in this setting, with Parker and Cleaver generating uninterrupted yet constantly morphing patterns. As Jazzwise has said of the trio, “Over the distinctively ‘swung funk’ grooves of her accompanists Mendoza plays glistening, keening melodies that occasionally become a kind of splintered rock & roll, and she also creates off the wall soundscapes, daringly stretching tones to suggest a police siren distorted by Sun Ra’s space probe.”
Mayan Space Station offers a veritable clinic on theme-and-variation, even when the themes are slippery as an eel. There’s always something to grab onto. Hold tight and enjoy the ride.