AMN Reviews: Paula Shocron / William Parker / Pablo Diaz – Emptying the Self (2017; NendoDangoRecords)

Argentinians Shocron (piano) and Diaz (drums and percussion) team up with one of the elder statesmen of creative improvisation, New Yorker William Parker (bass, of course). Consisting of four tracks ranging from five to twenty-three minutes, this trio offers a familiar and introspective take on modern jazz, with plenty of “free” moments, but also a nod toward conventional notions of melody.

Perhaps the most notable moments begin around one-third of the way through Fifty Five, the longest piece. Parker’s meandering bass lines provide the grounding for Shocron and Diaz to expand upon. The former sticks to a lyrical, almost pastoral, approach, while the latter pushes the envelope with angular beats. After several minutes of this approach, the group takes a left turn with Parker switching to rapid-fire bow work, Diaz providing extended percussion techniques, and Shocron filling in the gaps with clusters of notes ala Cecil Taylor.

On Independence Day, Shocron’s staccato chording is contrasted with Diaz’s rattling cymbal-work, while Parker takes a more subtle role. This combination of elements builds tension across the track’s first six minutes before slowing into a quieter and more straightforward approach. Buenos Aires continues this trend, as it is a downtempo, bass-led piece with percussive piano and accentuated drumming.

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