While mostly under the radar, Massimo Colombo is surely one of Europe's finest talents. The Italian pianist and arranger has many works to his credit, including his exceptional tributes to Bud Powell and Weather Report, Powell To The People (Jazzland DZ, 2018) and Acoustic Weather (Self-produced, 2019).
Colombo now reimagines the genius of Charlie Parker with drummer Peter Erskine and double bassist Chuck Berghofer. Having recorded together previously, the trio's chemistry flows easily. It is indeed electric as Colombo is sans piano, evoking Parker's notes on a Fender Rhodes. Ten Parker tunes are explored in both traditional and non-traditional formats.
Colombo opened with a solo take on "Scrapple From The Apple." Played at a crisp tempo, going solo established the bright sound of the Fender Rhodes that is not generally heard in conjunction with Parker's music. Colombo glided through, gracefully creating his own percussive accompaniment. Erskine and Berghofer came onboard for "Confirmation." The soothing element of a traditional rhythm section added a comforting contrast to Colombo's luminous Fender Rhodes. Already upbeat, the trio kicked into gear for "Moose The Mooche." Berghofer's grooving bass lines provided counterpoint for Colombo's melodic runs. In turn, Colombo comping for Berghofer to solo also led to stops and starts toward the end that allowed Erskine several opportunities to use his magic sticks for subtle yet substantial solos.
Colombo returned to the solo setting for a romp on "Billie's Bounce" that was assisted in counterpoint by his synthesizer. The trio then took "Donna Lee" out for a stroll. They had already been swinging on this record but now up a notch with Berghofer's powerful groove freeing Erskine to swing and improvise outside the pocket. "My Little Suede Shoes" was given a Latin boost. Colombo was playful and having fun as Erskine drove the ship on a pleasant course. They were in no hurry to get "there," instead enjoying the ride. Sequencing played a part in the success of Electric Parker. "Yardbird Suite," in solo, flowed exceptionally well following "My Little Suede Shoes."
The full tilt swing had to be coming and, boom, there it is on "Segment." Again the trio seemed to be having a lot of fun. Not surprisingly Erskine's drum solo, that was both tasty and tasteful was a highlight, but there was plenty of room for them all to shine. "Blues For Alice" had a sentimental feel. Colombo flew solo once more and took a trip to "Barbados." Well, he did pack his synthesizer which accounted for much more than counterpoint. The array of bursting and popping complimentary sounds accounted for the big bang finish.
This is an enjoyable, upbeat record that seems to flash by in a hurry. There was never a dull moment with Charlie Parker, nor is there here.
Scrapple From The Apple; Confirmation; Moose The Mooche; Billie's Bounce; Donna Lee; My Little Suede Shoes; Yardbird Suite; Segment;
Blues For Alice; Barbados.
Title: Electric Parker
| Year Released: 2022
| Record Label: Play & Oracle Records
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