William Parker & The Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra Mayor Of Punkville

Mayor Of Punkville is a great place to start investigating the music of William Parker. Parker is one of the most creative musicians in the world. His music spans total, angry freedom to joyful ensemble playing, often at the same time. His music continues the tradition of Black American energy music that arose in the '60s with Archie Shepp, the AACM and Pharoah Sanders. It's a legacy not just of great music: it's the notion that music, literature and art should not enjoyed passively, but should incite people to be socially and artistically active. The riff-heavy Mayor of Punkville is much more accessible than some of his work with his smaller combos or Other Dimensions In Music. His style with the LHCMO is recognisable to the fans of Godspeed You Make Think fans: take a theme, mutate it and repeat. The thematic content echoes Ellington, Mingus, Sun Ra - all the gifted writers for large bands. The vocal "James Baldwin To The Rescue," sung by Aleta Hayes, is a wonderful, honking ballad dedicated to the writer and social activist who "when I was 16 told me it was all right for me to exist on my own terms." Parker's music doesn't need insistent beats to compel you to move, even dance and sing, along to the music. This is superbly executed experimentation. (Aum Fidelity)