William Hooker
(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

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Black drummer William Hooker (1946), who moved to New York in 1974, remained fundamentally faithful to the aesthetic of free-jazz (despite a passion for exoteric/spiritual themes), starting with the double-LP Is Eternal Life (may 1975 - Reality Unit Concepts, 1978), a set of collaborations with other improvisers (including tenor saxophonists David Murray and David Ware, notably the lengthy trio Soy with Murray and a bassist) and with Brighter Lights (Reality Unit Concepts, 1982) in a trio with flutist Alan Braufman and pianist Mark Hennen.
Drumming and poetry coexisted on the albums of his relatively traditional period: Lifeline (august 1988 - Silkheart, 1989) for a quartet with piano and alto plus tenor saxophonist Charles Compo and trombonist Masahiko Kono; Colour Circle (february 1988 - Cadence, 1989) for a trio with saxophonist Booker Williams and trumpeter Roy Campbell; Firmament Fury (april 1989 - Silkheart, 1992), in a quintet with alto saxophonist Claude Lawrence, tenor saxophonist Charles Compo, trombonist Masahiko Kono and Borbetomagus' guitarist Donald Miller; and Subconscious (april 1991 - Ecstatic Peace, 1992), that documented a live performance by a sextet.
Crossing Points was a duet with alto saxophonist Thomas Chapin (may 1992).
Rediscovered by Sonic Youth's guitarist Thruston Moore for the rock audience, Hooker returned to a more abstract and loose kind of creative improvisation in his prolific middle age: Shamballa (Kitting Factory, 1993), containing a duet with Moore (Sirius) and an electroacoustic duet with guitarist Elliott Sharp (The Hat); Tibet (june 1994), containing two lengthy suites with piano (Mark Hennen), saxophone (Compo) and guitar (Donald Miller), the 40-minute The Coming One and the 24-minute Big Mountain; Radiation (Homestead, 1994), by Hooker's band featuring with Borbetomagus' guitarist Donald Miller, electronic musician Brian Doherty, reed player Charles Compo, trombonist Masahiko Kono), notably Darkness (november 1992) and The Spirits Return (april 1994); Joy (Silkheart, 1995), devoted to two live performances with violinist Billy Bang, notably the 17-minute Sweating Brain (june 1994); the live Great Sunset (june 1996) with Mark Hennen (piano), Lewis Barnes(trumpet), Charles Compo (tenor and baritone sax, flute); etc.

Armageddon (february 1995 - Homestead, 1995) marked a change in direction, both because the improvisations turned towards a more sophisticated kind of soundpainting and because the stylistic palette expanded dramatically, ranging from a dadaistic duet with turntablist DJ Olive (Time) to a prog-rock duet with a guitarist (Ghost Dance). While Hooker does not renege on free-jazz (Spirit World, Purge), the 16-minute State Secrets for drums and two guitars is rather chaotic.

Heat Of Light (august 1995) was an eight-movement solo-percussion work.

The experiment with turntablist DJ Olive was continued on Mindfulness (august 1996), that featured DJ Olive as well as reed player Glenn Spearman, and on Bouquet (april 1999), a cacophonous live jam with turntablist Christian Marclay and Lee Ranaldo.

Envisioning (april 1994 - Knitting Factory, 1995) was a collaboration with Sonic Youth's screeching guitarist Lee Ranaldo, highlighted by the 31-minute duet Matches. Zeena Parkins joined Ranaldo and Hooker on the live Gift of Tongues (1995), mostly taken up by the 51-minute Stamina.

The Distance Between Us (august 1998) contains the 27-minute Sensor Suite for saxophones (Charles Compo and Sabir Mateen), trumpet (Lewis Barnes), piano (Hennen) and drums.

Hard Time (december 1995) was an electro-acoustic quintet with Miller, electronic keyboardist Doug Walker, guitarist Jesse Henry and saxophonist Richard Keene.

The live Complexity #2 (september 2000) contains the 41-minute Twelve Windows for sea waves, drumming, electronic keyboards (Doug Walker) and turntable (DJ Olive).

The live 49-minute improvisation of Monsoon (2002) with bassist Roger Miller (of Mission of Burma fame) and guitarist Lee Ranaldo

Oasis of Whispers (september 2001) documents a live improvisation with Ranaldo and Glen Hall on tenor sax, soprano sax, flute, piccolo, bass flute, bass clarinet.

Black Mask (april 2000) collects duets with keyboardist Andrea Parkins, violinist Jason Hwang and saxophonist Roy Nathanson.

Monsoon - Out Trios Volume One (may 2002) documented a live trio with Roger Miller on bass and Lee Ranaldo on guitar.

The Gift (november 2004) documents a live performance with trumpeter Roy Campbell and violinist Jason Hwang.

The Celestial Answer (Table of Elements, 2005) was another collaboration with Ranaldo (also on electronics).

Hooker played in a trio with David Soldier (mandolin, banjo) and Sabir Mateen (saxophone, flute and clarinet) on Yearn For Certainty (2010).

Earth’s Orbit documents two live sessions (march 2007 and july 2009) with different line-ups.

William Hooker, guitarists Edward Ricart and saxophonist Glen Hall formed String 3 that debuted with A Postcard From The Road (2012).

The William Hooker Quintet (with bassist Adam Lane, guitarist Dave Ross, trumpetist Chris DiMeglio and percussionist Sanga) debuted with Channels Of Consciousness (march 2010).

William Hooker played with pianist Mark Hennen on Duo With Mark Hennen (Nacht, 2012), recorded in the desert.

The Gift became a full-fledged project with David Soldier on violin, banjo & guitar, and Roy Campbell on trumpets & flute, as documented on Heart Of The Sun (february 2013).

The cassette Triangles Of Forces (july 2008) documents William Hooker (drums) and Damon Smith (laptop and 7 string electric upright) in four lenghty studio improvisations, inspired by Oscar Micheaux's silent movie "The Symbol of the Unconquered" (1920).

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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