William Hooker

Black Mask

BY David DacksPublished Jun 1, 2002

This audio document is comprised of excerpts from Hooker's original unveiling of the "Black Mask" concept at the Knitting Factory New York club. It's Hooker pounding away freely on the drums somewhere between Ronald Shannon Jackson (whose Pulse this album is reminiscent of) and Sunny Murray. He is accompanied by a series of guests: Roy Nathanson on sax, Andrea Parkins (accordion) and Jason Hwang on violin and effects (whose contributions are my favourite). This is a highly charged drum concept from start to finish - it feels like each guest has dropped by the Hooker house of drums, had a conversation and then left. The best conversations occur with Jason Hwang, whose electronics match the frantic drumming extremely well, creating thick and rhythmic noise and even the quieter sections are still restless. Black Mask sounds much less studio-oriented and deliberate than many Knitting Factory releases of the last year, but maybe next time Hooker will hook up with someone who can match his intensity, such as Charles Gayle or Tim Berne.
(Knitting Factory)

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