The Element Choir & William Parker At Christ Church Deer Park

Seventy voices, a trumpet/bass/drums trio, a pipe organ and one of free jazz's most revered bassists (William Parker) make a galaxy's worth of sound. Under the direction of conductor Christine Duncan, the live performance is given clear shape, textural depth, levels of sonority and impact. Duncan makes what could be unwieldy and directionless focused and fascinating. The CD's single track, "Bibi Blocksberg: Das Gestohlene Hexenkraut" ("The Stolen Witchweed"), is an exploit-filled wander through a mysterious forest of sounds. Whispers, shouts and intoned mantras are all juxtaposed against the formidable bass-ics of the constantly inventive Parker. Trumpeter Jim Lewis emerges to make declarations, while the other bassist, Andrew Downing, and drummer Jean Martin respond in kind. At the heart of the soundscape is organist Eric Robertson, whose choice of organ sonorities is brilliant in the dramatic shifts he creates inside and outside of the massed voices. This is a remarkable document of improvised music. (Barnyard)