The Washington Post

In concert: William Parker at Bohemian Caverns

William Parker led his Organ Quarter through its first-ever live performance at Bohemian Caverns on Sunday. (Photos by Marlon Correa/TWP)

Alongside drummer Gerald Cleaver, the 59-year-old Parker spent the set keeping pace with bandmates who were constantly in flux. Yet despite shifts in tempo and form, and even spontaneous changes of tune, they never sacrificed the tight grooves at the music’s root. Indeed, they grounded the often abstract sounds erupting from the bandstand.

As the band name implies, however, it was organist Cooper-Moore — not Parker — whose sound was most prominent. Whether accompanying the horn soloists (tenor saxophonist Darryl Foster and special guest trumpeter Lewis “Flip” Barnes) or building his own solos, from blues and gospel licks to psychedelic noise and back again, Cooper-Moore’s electric keyboard screamed and growled its way to the forefront. If the noisier portions seemed at times to be heading off the rails, the organist made clear that he knew exactly what he was doing, mouthing along to every note before capping the wild lines with soulful licks and signaling a return to the theme with a glance to the horns.

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