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JULY 30

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A safari camped deep in the African jungle heard drums in the darkened distance and became worried. The constant rhythms continued through dawn, but the safari guide assured them, “The drums are good. Only when they stop, is it bad.” Night after night the drums throbbed, but the guide comforted his crew with the same words: “The drums are good. Only when they stop, is it bad.” A week into the trip, the drums suddenly stopped and the guide became frightened. “When the drums stop it’s very bad!” he shuddered. One of the travelers finally asked why it was so bad? “Because when the drums stop, the bass solo begins!” The point of this old joke generally holds true: During solos, the bass’s frequencies just don’t induce the white-knuckle trembling of their trebly brethren. But tonight, bassist William Parker will pat that crusty jape on its head, put on its pajamas, and put it to bed. Parker’s spiritual solo bass performances (exhaustively documented on his album Testimony) lift hairs on the back of the neck and raise hands in the air as they traverse the spectrum of sound, from a walrus’s roar to a baby’s mewling. While Parker is best known for performing with Cecil Taylor and David S. Ware, tonight he is accompanied only by his wife, Patricia Nicholson, who interprets her hubby’s ecstatic improvisations through her dancing. The couple perform at 8 p.m. at Kaffa House, 1212 U St. NW. $7. (202) 462-1212. (Christopher Porter)