William Parker -- Patricia Nicholson

No Joke!

William Parker’s recording career began in 1973 on ESP-Disk’ (Frank Lowe’s Black Beings, ESP3013) and he returned to ESP in 2017 as a member of Mat Walerian’s group Toxic (This Is Beautiful Because We Are Beautiful People

ESP5011). Now ESP is proud to present a new William Parker album in collaboration with his wife Patricia Nicholson. No Joke! is unapologetically political, facing down injustice and inequality and other “in”s with artistic integrity and “outside” music.


2/4: William Parker, bass; James Brandon Lewis, tenor sax; Devin Brahja Waldman, alto sax; Francesco Mela, drums, vocal on 2

1/3/5: William Parker, bass; Patricia Nicholson, spoken word, James Brandon Lewis, tenor sax; Devin Brahja Waldman, alto sax; Melanie Dyer, viola; Gerald Cleaver, drums

All music by William Parker, centering music. All words by Patricia Nicholson except “Little Black Kid with the Swollen Stomach” by William Parker.

Recorded (2/4: July 30, 2020; 1/3/5: September 5, 2019) and mixed at Park West Studios by Jim Clouse.

Cover art and packaging layout by Bill Mazza Studio.

Track Listing:

1. Flare Up 19:01

2. Little Black Kid with the Swollen Stomach 9:07

3. Struggle 5:37

4. Wilted Light as Flower 11:19

5. No Joke 21:37

Press Quotes:

“He stands now as one of the most adventurous and prolific bandleaders in jazz.”—David French, DownBeat

“Women With An Axe To Grind...specialized in astonishingly quicksilver seat-of-the-pants exhortation, both guided by and steering Nicholson's movement. There were some tremendous exchanges as Léandre's jagged arco constructs jostled with Mitchell's percolating vocalized flute and Dyer's soaring violin. They all contributed to the theatrical aspect too, with Léandre echoing some of Nicholson's politically-steeped phrases and rounds of harsh sighs fizzing around the stage, in a set which prompted a standing ovation.”— John Sharpe, All About Jazz

“William Parker pursues spirituality through hard work. He plays bass as if reaching heaven is a matter of steadily, repeatedly knocking until someone opens the door; he's one of the avant-garde jazz players most dedicated to the pursuit of higher purpose and heightened awareness in music, and he approaches it with a heavy, elemental tone.”—Chris Dahlen, Pitchfork

““Patricia Nicholson… is also an outstanding poet and dancer.”—Chris Tart, DownBeat

“Parker's creative energies have made him the unofficial mayor of the New York improvisational scene.”— Piotr Michalowski, Ann Arbor Observer

“William Parker is a towering figure in 21st century avant-garde music, widely recognised as a crucial link to the heart of free jazz, and a true heavyweight of the double bass.”—Daniel Spicer, BBC

Digital download Choice of WAVs or MP3s
Compact Disk digipak with striking art by Bill Mazza
  • Product Code: ESP5067
  • Availability: In Stock
  • CD $12.98
  • WAV Download $8.99
  • MP3 Download $8.99

Add to Cart

Related Products

Black Beings

Black Beings

The CD and download versions of Black Beings contain 15 minutes of additional material thought to h..