WEDNESDAY

In the post-Coltrane world of jazz, fiery improvisation is often considered deeply sacred by fans and artists alike, no matter how heavily nostalgic the magic. Which is not to say that instrumental jamming cannot or should not be spiritually moving; it’s just that enthusiasts’ hyperbole blurs the distinction between genius and mountebank. For example: The press sheet for bassist William Parker’s ambitious, and at times, brilliant Mayor of Punkville (recorded in 1999 with his Mingusesque Little Huey Creative Music Orchestra) makes Parker (pictured, with dancer Patricia Nicholson)—evidently an “ultra-deep human”—out to be the second coming of Christ. There are plenty of music-rag quotes about humanity, compassion, and saving the planet via sound. But what’s left unsaid is that Parker is one heavy mofo who passes the bullcrap detector simply because his playing is so visceral and virtuosic. And unlike most folks trafficking in freely improvised sounds, Parker is linked to the original wave. The New York native studied with Coltrane bassist Jimmy Garrison and made his 1973 recording debut on tenor saxophonist Frank Lowe’s Black Beings—one of the final records on the legendary ESP label. Throughout the ’80s and ’90s, Parker played extensively with pianist and free-jazz innovator Cecil Taylor and German gutbucket tenor saxophonist Peter Brötzmann, in addition to leading his own groups. Whether accompanying or solo, Parker creates an insane wall of sound. Hell, he’s the mayor of Punkville. Hizzoner plays at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21, at George Washington University’s Building J, 2129 G St. NW. $10. (703) 549-8312 (Brent Burton)