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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Christopher Parker: Full Circle

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Pianist Chris Parker is a musical explorer. He has travelled around the world musically and as his latest album Full Circle indicates, he has reached his destination and found an aesthetic where all the different aspects of his musical curiosity come together. While Parker travels a lot musically, he doesn't visit the melancholy North on this album, even though he is definitely capable of writing reflective ballad-like compositions like “Free" and “First Light." Instead, the focus on the album is the vibrant rhythms of Latin America, with a strong touch of swing, blues and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Christopher Parker: Full Circle

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Pianist Chris Parker's second CD release on OA2 Records, Full Circle, sounds like an exciting live set full of vigorous life, something that engages the crowd and gets them up out of their seat, dancing. It's a quintet--common enough in jazz--with the uncommon use of violin in the front line beside the saxophone, reeling out unison lines with the horn, or stepping out in sinuous solo slots. John Nastos is the alto sax guy who breaks out the soprano horn here and there. Violinist Rob Thomas is his front line cohort. Their unison work makes for sonorities not ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Chris Parker Trio: The Chris Parker Trio

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Drummer Chris Parker has a to-die-for résumé. Over the past four decades, he's worked with everybody from the The Brecker Brothers to Miles Davis and Laura Nyro to Lou Rawls, taking a genre-blind approach to drumming that continues to serve him well. As a sideman, he's made his mark time and again with a who's who of music giants, but he also knows a thing or two about leading a band. Parker's trio, with bassist Ameen Saleem and pianist Kyoko Oyobe, is one of the most dynamically tuned-in threesomes to put out a record in 2013. While ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Toph-E & the Pussycats: Live in Detroit

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Jazz is a schizophrenic music: it desires performance on the concert stage to a quiet, polite tuxedo and evening dress audience; at the same time, it seeks out a rowdy, drunk bar or festival crowd. Jazz has largely been able to cater to both populations successfully, but has certainly tended to the former extreme (at least in recent years). Toph-E and the Pussycats is a funky quintet that plays an assertive brand of soul jazz injected with a contemporarily smooth flair, aiming to reverse this trend.

In short, this is a jazz band with a rock band attitude. Bassist Will ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Toph-E & The Pussycats: Live In Detroit

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This ensemble, which has been in business since 2000, consists of five well-respected musicians who have largely worked behind the scenes on scores of studio sessions, as well as the television bands of David Letterman (bassist Will Lee) and Saturday Night Live (drummer Chris Parker). In addition, it also features percussionist/composer Ralph MacDonald, who was immortalized for his stirring participation on George Benson's version of “On Broadway" decades ago (and acknowledged by Benson in the closing coda). Clifford Carter (piano and keyboards) has worked with Patty Scialfa and recorded with James Taylor, Bryan Ferry and Betty Buckley. Finally, tenor and ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Toph-E & the Pussycats: Live in Detroit

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Don't let this band's name fool you: Toph-E & The Pussycats are a group of veteran jazz musicians whose combined resumes include television gigs, Grammy awards, and musician credits from James Brown to Rachel Z. Led by drummer Chris Parker, the group also features bassist Will Lee, piano/keyboard player Clifford Carter, saxophonist David Mann, and percussionist/songwriter Ralph MacDonald.

The New York-based group, which was formed in 2000, performs compositions with a heady mix of jazz, R&B and rock music, basing them around a musical philosophy dubbed “R&B-bop." This live recording from the Detroit Jazz Festival shows that they clearly know ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Chris Parker: Late in Lisbon

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Quick and to the Point : Small jazz combo fronted by reeds & violin.

Pianist Chris Parker wrote all ten compositions on Late in Lisbon, incorporating a contemporary sounding 'lan with high ended sonic textures provided by violinist Rob Thomas and saxophonist Peter Epstein on alto & soprano. The latter two have finely honed chops with untraceable sonic personalities, giving the date its singular aural character. The record manages to swing from a Latinized jam opener 'where everyone but anchorman Tony Marino solos his things around' to hipsting and stuffing the bottom in 'The Chimney,' where Parker makes you pay ...



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