Wednesday, March 31, 2010
The themes and directions of both albums, while building toward free improvisation, actually start with a foundation that many will find accessible. The material is highly layered and the individual performances gel magnificently. At their best, they're reminiscent of Charles Mingus' releases for Impulse during the 60s, such as Black Saint and Sinner Lady.
The title tracks and "Song For Jesus" are notable for their lyrical beauty. Brown and Barnes also express themselves wonderfully throughout these sessions, making it clear that no one in this band is ever overshadowed. While many of Parker's albums are very complex with themes and textures that can be overwhelming and arching in new directions, both Sound Unity and O'Neals Porch are well suited for the uninitiated. Two must listens by far.