Upon initial listening, there is a deceptive lightness-of-being borne throughout Little Big II: Dreams of A Mechanical Man
that may or may not come off to some, or most, as slightly too poppy a venture. But pianist Aaron Parks
and his road-running cohorts, rock toned guitarist Greg Tuohey
, bassist David Ginyard
and drummer/percussionist Tommy Crane
, are intuitive dealers with aces high up their collective sleeve.
Hewn from the same lithe, exploratory spirit which sparked his communicative 2008 Blue Note debut Invisible Cinema
and 2018's still fierce Little Big
(Ropeadope), Little Big II: Dreams of A Mechanical Man
quickly establishes itself as an energetically lush artistic statement. Clearly meant to be an accessible work fueled by the underlying tension of grace vs. the daily fire and forage, "Attention, Earthlings" puts you in that early Pat Metheny Group clear space, open sky frame of mind, clears the runway and soars.
Blooming from articulate yet simple, folkish elements of electronica, rock, and all else within his expansive, musical purview, Parks may have composed all but two of the twelve brimmingly tuneful tracks, ("Is Anything Okay?" and "Where Now?" are group credited) but this is group-think of the highest creative order. After two solid years of touring together behind Little Big
these guys know where they are going and exactly how they are getting there, which marks every track with a quiet fire from any of the active participants. Tuohey is particularly conversant, his leads like water, ("Here," "The Shadow and the Self") his dissonant squalls like running paint (the jousting, jostling "Friendo"). Drummer Crane takes it all in a loose, relaxed stride. Muscle here, stutters there while Ginyard's esoteric bass asserts itself within the music and the mind as a presence more felt more then heard.
Employing a wide array of keyboards (synths,Wurlitzer, Rhodes, celeste, etc) Parks is in a heightened state of melodic contentment and assurance throughout the whole, despite the underlying news of the day. "Solace" is majestically ruminative, "My Mistake" a moving blues. From a wash of chimes and bells Parks emerges with a repeating line which leads into a gorgeously restive state of mind shared with Touhey on "The Ongoing Pulse of Isness." It's just a stunningly beautiful piece, pure and simple. Pure and simple. Tags and keywords for Little Big II: Dreams of A Mechanical Man
as a whole.
Attention, Earthlings; Here; Solace; Friends; Is Anything Okay?; The Shadow and The Self; The Storyteller; My
Mistake; The Ongoing Pulse of Isness; Where Now; Unknown.