Reviews - WILLIAM PARKER & HAMID DRAKE Piercing The Veil (AUM017)
"A common myth says that holy men must speak in tongues. Take a quick tour [through the world of William Parker & Hamid Drake], and you'll learn that these two high priests of free improvisation can rock 'n' roll with the best of 'em. ... they come together to create sounds, images, and ideas that transcend time and place." - Nils Jacobson
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'William Parker and Hamid Drake pretty much redefine the notion of a powerhouse free jazz rhythm section. They lay down a funk-fueled and abstract dialogue in even the most 'out' groups, contributing bass and drums in ensembles with monster players like Fred Anderson and Peter Brotzmann. Here, on "Piercing the Veil", Parker and Drake go it as a duo, exploring the outer reaches of what a drummer and bassist can do together. At times the two are just downright funky, hitting interstellar grooves that spill out in a joyous explosion of powerful sound.
They also dig into a more primitive musical language here, when Parker picks up the dumbek or shakuhachi, their beautiful reed/percussion duets cover a similar territory to the legendary "MU" sessions recorded by Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell. Displaying a full spectrum of sound, "Piercing the Veil" is a magical recording of two of the most soulful and spiritual voices in avant-garde jazz. This album is nothing short of essential. –Phil Waldorf

"Two mofos, one groove. Parker's known for his avant variability and soul on upright bass, but he can also lock into killer beats - on bass, wooden flute, double reeds, or a pile o' perc. Chicago drummer Drake could make anybody sound good; here he just relaxed and jammed. Must've been a blast." – Greg Burk

COLLEGE MUSIC JOURNAL – "#1 CMJ Jazz Charts for 4 weeks"

"Full of the dread which dub derived from Africa - right into your living room. Wild." – Ben Watson

“The first track alone sounds like a summation of the entire history of the bass and drums in jazz. From this rip-roaring start the music moves on to display the sort of eclectic jazz-meets-world music aesthetic that has become common jazz parlance, but it's rarely done with such class and integrity as here. A remarkable and distinctive disc and - good news - this is only volume one!” – Philip Clark

"Not since Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell joined forces have two musicians so organically wedded world-music influences with free jazz. The resultant music is connected to history and culture yet true to its contemporary American roots. And the rhythms groove so deeply that if dance-club DJs got hold of this CD, all America would be moving to it." – Ed Hazell

"William Parker and Hamid Drake are the best rhythm section in jazz right now. Piercing The Veil's opening cut, "Black Cherry," is pure dance music--the pair never lose the groove, but they crank it up and out, heading to a place where ecstasy supercedes intellect. Other cuts on the disc feature Parker on Middle Eastern, African and Asian instruments, while Drake plays frame drum and tablas to trance-inducing effect. It's a fascinating exploration of multiple sound worlds." – Phil Freeman