62

Aaron Parks: Little Big

Glenn Astarita By

Sign in to view read count
The press release for highly praised keyboard/composer Aaron Parks's (Kurt Rosenwinkel, Terence Blanchard) latest album states: "after experimenting with various lineups and sessions, Parks landed on three musicians ideally suited for this atmospheric, genre-bending new work." And after listening to this inspiring session it's easy to discern why Parks needed time and a bit of prudence to fulfil his personalized mission of original genre-hopping compositions, that gel to a synergistic group-focused vibe. Here, it seems that the artist has reached a milestone 10-years after his 2008 Blue Note debut Invisible Cinema.

This acoustic-electric set is best played in its entirety. And while each piece stands on its own, there's a synchronous flow akin to a movielike plot that casts a flurry of contrasting emotive aspects and propositions. Parks derived inspiration from John Crowley's science fiction writings, in concert with his take on indie rock and electronic instrumentation bolstered with progressive jazz applications. Even while guitarist Greg Tuohey uses effects, his soloing conveys lucid imagery of a hornist's jazz lines, partly due to his rangy extended notes, tuneful flurries and improvisations around primary themes.

The quartet's cyclical melodies, blossoming arrangements and the element of surprise are pivotal components, abetted by the frontline's multihued shadings and bassist DJ Ginyard's sturdy and fluid groove-based foundations. However, "Small Planet" is a touching ballad, instilled with contemplative sentiment and the guitarist's tempered use of distortion, duly supported by the rhythm section's pliant rock beats and supple jazz cadences.

Parks and Tuohey generate plenty of background effects, airy colorations and sensitive voicings. But "Professor Strangeweather" is a funk jazz spree, coated with Park's velvety synth lines. Whereas, the plot takes a U-turn on the ethereal and echoing "Lilac," triggering a lazy day type vibe but picks up steam thanks to drummer Tommy Crane's inventive maneuvers within a stewing undercurrent and swirling ostinatos. Other works are designed with a hardcore jazz fusion impetus, instigated by Parks' hammering block chords and gritty tradeoffs with Tuohey amid thrusting pulses, dense synth swashes and burgeoning progressions.

"Hearth" is the pianist's brief, heartfelt and blues-tinged solo interlude, although "Rising Mind" is a lyrically resplendent and blustery piece, sparked by Tuohey's punk jazz licks and the leader's tuneful block chords. Indeed, it's a rather majestic presentation, devised with chutzpah, grit, multi-flavored oeuvres and technical mastery. Toss in some intermittent risk-taking methods and you have a program that highlight Parks' exceptional talents, enacted by a superb band that performs with the greatest of ease, and a laser-like focus.

Track Listing: Kid; Small Planet; The Trickster, Professor Strangeweather; Lilac; Aquarium; Digital Society; Siren; Mandala; Hearth; The Fool; Rising Mind; Good Morning; Doors Open.

Personnel: Aaron Parks: piano, keyboards; Greg Tuohey: guitar; David Ginyard: bass; Tommy Crane: drums.

Title: Little Big | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Ropeadope

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Nemesis

Nemesis

Aaron Parks
Invisible Cinema

Radio
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Podcast
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
New York Beat
Read more articles
Little Big

Little Big

Ropeadope
2018

buy
Find the Way

Find the Way

ECM Records
2017

buy
Duets in June

Duets in June

Gateway Music
2016

buy
Arborescence

Arborescence

ECM Records
2013

buy
Invisible Cinema

Invisible Cinema

Blue Note Records
2008

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Jun23Sun
Aaron Parks
Crooners Supper Club
Minneapolis, MN
Jul11Thu
Ben Wendel Seasons Band
Parque De Santa Catarina
Funchal, Portugal
$10-15
Sep19Thu
Aaron Parks Trio Featuring Billy Hart And Ben Street
Bop Stop
Cleveland, OH
$2030

Related Articles

Read Live at I.C.U.U. Album Reviews
Live at I.C.U.U.
By Karl Ackermann
June 16, 2019
Read 789 Miles Album Reviews
789 Miles
By David A. Orthmann
June 16, 2019
Read Follow Me Album Reviews
Follow Me
By Roger Farbey
June 16, 2019
Read You Get What You Give Album Reviews
You Get What You Give
By Ljubinko Zivkovic
June 16, 2019
Read Play The Bird And The Bee Album Reviews
Play The Bird And The Bee
By Dan Bilawsky
June 15, 2019
Read Appleblueseagreen Album Reviews
Appleblueseagreen
By Dan McClenaghan
June 15, 2019
Read The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings Album Reviews
The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings
By Doug Collette
June 15, 2019