Riding the Wave With Avant-Garde Bassist William Parker 

Popularity and critical acclaim are just distractions to the fundamental challenges. "Music is still a mystery," he says. "You can play all your life and be constantly discovering new things."

Parker's approach is based on the deeply idealistic concept that music is not man-made but a pre-existing, separate and ever-shifting spiritual truth. "It exists as a river of sound," he says. "We throw a line into it — train ourselves to ride the wave, to know what to do when it comes through us. You don't have to worry about creating; it informs you what to do."

"We need to send out vibrations to help to keep the world balanced," Parker says. "It is medicinal, whether the world knows it or not."

A musician trying to control music, in Parker's view, is like a weatherman trying to control the weather. — Peter McElhinney

VCU Jazz Studies Program presents bassist William Parker with Ayman Fanous at the Sonia Vlahcevic Concert Hall Jan. 27 at 8 p.m. Admission is $10-$15.


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