Flesh & Bones is William Hookers third solo album for Org Music and was produced with help from Ras Moshe, Charles Burnham, On Davis, Hilliard Greene, and Luke Stewart. It was engineered by Parichat Songmuang at Steinhart Studios at New York University. William Hooker conceived of this album as his Black Lives Matter Suite with the music evoking many of the traumas that fuel the movement.
The album opens with the flute and handclap duet intro to Flames, as a long tone started to emerge against the odd foot stomp, leading towards plucked atonal strings getting scraped across your brain as it's in Flames.
My Blood has an improvised free jazz feel to the percussion runs, cymbals attack as the soprano sax infiltrates your veins, directions shouted as bass runs upwards, fighting against the pointless tragedies within this tumultuous sound, pained interjections fighting the abuse and discrimination against challenging music in challenging times.
Captivity has an insistent beat like you're walking in a chain gang, as all the madness surrounds you, a lamenting violin, squalling sax, broken bodies shattered by systemic abuse.
Courts opens with deep bass wails of outrage, Drums intersperse spasms of despair, a slow memorial for the days when a fair trial was likely and ex-presidents trusted the courts to come to just outcomes, as the more experimental nature of the tune seems to be scrabbling to make sense of the courts miasmic state in the USA in the last 5 years at least. The tension mounts as the disbelief that this where we are at in 2023, a revolving violin line gets pummeled by speeding drums crashing at the insanity.
Sewing The Seams is all calm and nice sax interplay till the drums explode into the middle of the tune in a fury and intent to rip those seams apart again.
True Dat no matter how mad and out of its mind this tune and music might be, it still seems tame compared to the madness of all the police violence, that the scatter gun drumming rat tat tatting against the scrambling your brain guitars, hoping for a change of direction, an injection of sanity in the process, a fairer way of living without prejudice.
Reveal A Truth almost has a country hoedown feel to it, skewered through the dep handclap out there a minute jazz implications, at the hope that if enough of the truth about the moral bankruptcy of our governments sees the light of day, those governments and the parties that allegedly represent us, can be replaced with some that really do represent us. The Truth can only be revealed through ever more complex drumming, seeking to unwrap the tangled web they have already enmeshed us within.
Black Lives need to be celebrated and we all know they matter, as much as this urgent painful music does, equality is and should always be a right we all fight for, as the tsunami of the sounds of despair, at everything that's wrong in the USA this century unfurls around your ears.
Illustrious Posterity poses questions as to what should be saved for posterity, is it the violins plaintive introduction.
Ageless are the careful plucking of strings, bent notes surviving through the ages, flutes discovering symmetry with the kettle drums.
The Soul Of Fire expands on the Ageless theme as Hendrixesque slowed guitar marks the end of all the tethers needed to restrain those fighting against injustice of the modern world, this is as pensive a closing piece as it could be.
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