William Hooker

Org Music, 2019


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Mindfulness is a live album recorded at Slim's in San Francisco by the legendary drummer and spoken word artist William Hooker. He is accompanied here by Glenn Spearman on tenor sax and DJ Olive on turntables on this well delivered and iconoclastic 1997 album. Seeing as how this is the 2019 Record Store Day reissue, it comes on two slabs of clear vinyl and with two unreleased tracks, too.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Side one is “Solemn Breath: Knowledge/In This Earth-Body,” a 20+ minute jam of light percussion, an adventurous duet with Spearman, and then concluding with Olive's scratching under Hooker's spoken word performance.

Side two has Hooker displaying his drum acrobatics on “Flow- RT. 1 (Awake),” while “Principle Of Duality,” at just one minute, leaves an impression with its unorthodox jazz sensibilities.

Side three brings us the album's highlight, the 20 minutes of “Living Organs – Parallel Planes,” where Hooker gets abrasive and energetic and Spearman takes a page out of Coltrane's book with plenty of tension and recklessness.

Side four contains the last track on the original release: the calmer waters of “Archetypal Space,” where a mysterious and meditative setting exists. Here is where the two bonus tracks reside. “History And Futures” showcases Hookers' restrained skill behind the drum kit that erupts into furiousness as he speaks in the pauses, while “Architecture (The Book Of Numbers)” presents manic and calculated work on a drumming focused tune that no one else could replicate.

Not only is this the first time this record has been available on vinyl, it's limited to a mere 1000 copies. Expect this one to sit on collector shelves very soon, as fans of Hooker and atypical, experimental forms of avant-garde jazz will be getting their mitts on this one not only for its scarcity, but highly creative, unpredictable, and unclassifiable execution that has made Hooker a legend.

Rating: A-

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© 2019 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Org Music, and is used for informational purposes only.