Slowly but surely, over the past several years, ECM Records has forged relationships with some of New York City's most impressive musicians--no mean feat given that, despite the Big Apple no longer being the jazz mecca it once was, it certainly remains a lightning rod for some of the world's most creative musicians, ranging from trumpeter Ralph Alessi and saxophonists Tim Berne and Chris Potter, to pianists David Virelles, Jason Moran and Craig Taborn--all of whom have been represented, either as guests or leaders, on some of the most uncompromising and impressive music to be released in recent times--not just ...read more
While he only just passed his 24th birthday in October 2008, the gifted Aaron Parks has been appreciated by New Yorkers for quite some time. He's been paying his dues in local clubs for years and has distinguished himself further--enhancing his reputation as a pianist of excellence--as a former member of Terence Blanchard's notable Flow sextet, touring and playing on three Blanchard recordings for Blue Note, including the Grammy-winning A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina) (2007). He's also been heard on soundtracks of Spike Lee movies and tours with Kurt Rosenwinkel.
Now, with Invisible Cinema, his first ...read more
Best known for his five-year tenure with trumpeter Terence Blanchard, pianist Aaron Parks is the second Blanchard graduate to debut under his own name on Blue Note in 2008. His disc follows percussionist Lionel Loueke's Karibu (Blue Note, 2008), a fitfully engaging album flawed by trying too hard. Invisible Cinema by contrast is a corker, a caveat-free fairground ride in forward-looking piano jazz winningly spiced with a little prog rock.
Parks played on three Blanchard albums--including the outstanding New Orleans lament A Tale Of God's Will (Blue Note, 2007)--and shares Blanchard's cinematic approach to composing and arranging. The ...read more
Pianist and composer Aaron Parks is 24 years old--and he started college 11 years ago. A child prodigy who entered the University of Washington at age 13 as a triple major in math, computer science and music, Parks quickly found that music was his true calling. Now, after a five-year stint with trumpeter Terence Blanchard, Parks is set to release his Blue Note debut, Invisible Cinema. The album, which hits stores on August 19, 2008, is a tour de force of composition, imagination and performance.All About Jazz: So I was feeling very smart, listening to the record without ...read more
On the new episode of The Jazz Session, Jason Crane interviews pianist/composer Aaron Parks about his new album, Invisible Cinema (Blue Note, 2008). Parks is 24 years old--and he started college 11 years ago. A child prodigy who entered the University of Washington at age 13 as a triple major in math, computer science and music, Parks quickly found that music was his true calling. Now, after a five-year stint with trumpeter Terence Blanchard, Parks is set to release his Blue Note debut, Invisible Cinema. The album, which hits stores on August 19, 2008, is a tour ...read more
If ever there were a supporting case for the importance of mentoring in jazz, it would be Aaron Parks. The pianist began playing with trumpeter Terence Blanchard in 2003 at the age of 18 and, over the course of three albums culminating in last year's deeply moving A Tale of God's Will (Blue Note, 2007), has grown into a mature player whose early promise is already being realized. With inimitable technique and open ears, he seems to have bypassed the youthful peril where technique is the end rather than the means. On his debut as a leader, Parks proves himself ...read more
When Aaron Parks first appeared with Terence Blanchard, the then-19-year old pianist with wild hair and rumpled clothing made him indistinguishable from many of the young jazz fans who came to see Blanchard's return from the world of Spike Lee film scores. Looks can be deceiving though as Parks would later become a key contributor to Blanchard's phenomenal sextet, Flow. Parks is now the third member of that unit to go out on his own, and Invisible Cinema is, by far, the best solo debut of the three.
While guitarist Lionel Loueke played with his musical identity on Gilfema (ObliqSound, ...read more
Some ten years ago when I was speaking at the annual Clifford Brown Festival in Wilmington Delaware, I ran across a remarkable family. The Parkses" (a family of four represented at the festival by mother & son) were there, excited by the prospect that young Aaron, age 14 or so, and his young compatriots (winners of a jazz competition) were selected to perform. The youngsters were talented and entertaining but what I remember most about the encounter were conversations with Aaron's mother. She had hauled her young prodigy from Seattle and was preparing to move her family to New York ...read more
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