Downtown Music Gallery
Review: Ken Aldcroft-William Parker "Live at the Tranzac Vol. 1" (TRP-DS04-023)
By: Bruce Lee Gallanter

Toronto-based guitarist, Ken Aldcroft, has played here at DMG in solo and duos more than a handful of times through the years. This is his second duo disc with Downtown's great bassist William Parker and again this is an incredible duo! This disc was recorded live at the Tranzac Club in Toronto in September of 2013. The recording and balance between these two players is well captured and warm. There is a great deal of quick interaction going on here, like an intense conversation or perhaps a high-speed Ping-Pong match or a race between equally well-matched contestants. Since these two have played together on numerous occasions, there seems to be a bond going on, keeping their interaction tight and always shifting together through tempo changes and a breath-taking swirl of dense connected ideas. As this set-long piece evolves, the dialogue gets more knotty and shrewd but always remains like a trip through the rapids. Things slow down a bit when Mr. Parker switches to bowed bass, the sound more mysterious. Stranger still is when Mr. Parker moves to a double-reed musette-like instrument while Aldcroft weaves a tight tapestry underneath. There is a section midway when Parker picks up his doson n'goni, a harp-like instrument once played by Don Cherry. This section is most magical and trance-inducing and feels like we have wandered into an African village with a ritualistic ceremony going on with Mr. Parker chanting softly in the background. This is only the first set, can't wait for the next one!