Last September, pianist Paula Shocron, bassist William Parker, and drummer Pablo Diaz performed a set at Brooklyn’s IBeam. Parker also contributed pocket trumpet and pocket tuba. Live at IBeam memorializes the show, and consists of one 50-minute track, aptly titled Free Improvisation.
This release can be broken into three parts based on the instrument in Parker’s hands. Using the tuba, he leads the group with staggered bounciness, while Shocron and Diaz scrape, rake, and scratch their instruments. Shocron provides wordless vocals. Parker’s trumpet playing is wavery and meandering over staccato repeating notes from Shocron. His bass contributions are subtle yet powerful and exploratory, in line with his hundreds of other sessions.
Throughout, Shocron and Diaz (who are frequent collaborators), respectively employ a percussive chording style and a rattling with extended techniques. While these two turn up the aggression with dense patterns, the mix is surprisingly quiet from time to time. This relatively sparse playing, when featured, pays attention to the nuance of each note. The result is a finely-detailed recording that should serve to hold us over until the trio completes their second studio album, due in 2021.