266

Dion Parson featuring the 21st Century Band: People Music

Elliott Simon By

Sign in to view read count
The most successful efforts at intertwining world/folk music with jazz artfully maintain an "of the people/by the people" feel. The best of these in turn feature a core group of talented musicians who within this structure use the complex improvisational techniques and instrumental voicings of jazz to explore new musical territory. People Music , led by drummer Dion Parson, is just such a session.

Parson has surrounded himself with inventive jazz musicians who also continue to maintain a healthy respect for their music's cultural roots and rhythms. A prominent and authentic Virgin Island feel, courtesy of Parson and bandmates saxophonist Ron Blake and bassist Reuben Rogers, adds an uplifting edge to cuts that also draw on funk, bop, Brazilian, chitlin' circuit B3 and reggae. The driving interplay between Parson and the great hand drummer Robert Thomas Jr. on cuts like the funkily happy "Promise to our Future" and the more mellow "The River Runs" expose complex rhythms in differing settings. While the former is a wonderfully up-beat optimistic look forward, the latter is a mellow, reflective take on the lovely Monty Alexander composition. Jeremy Pelt adds his attacking trumpet to Blake's full mellow tone on both Jackie McLean's boppishly playful ode to his daughter "Little Melonae" and the lighthearted Parson-composed closer, "Child's Play."

"Mellow D" begins as such, with a Blake opener that somewhat suddenly segues into some serious reggae courtesy of Ron Jackson's perfectly placed staccato guitar and Carlton Holmes' organ riffs. Reuben Rogers' featherlike touch against a soothing percussive backdrop, made more so by vocalist Senise Jannah, allows Blake to succeed with "Lullaby for Belle" until Carlton Holmes' breezy piano awakes on the Ron Jackson tune "To Us." After Blake presents Jackson's very catchy melody, the composer is front and center displaying quick fingers that lead into a full ensemble sound. "Brazilia" is true to its name, as a boppish beginning finds Blake and Jackson on acoustic, soloing against a tropically rhythmic surrounding. "NGP for Sonny P" pays fitting tribute to the powerful Hammond B3 artist Sonny Phillips as Holmes' juicy organ, along with Blake and Jackson, let everyone know "this be the blues." With uplifting takes on standards and newly composed music that portends a bright future, People Music is a joy.


Track Listing: 1. Promise To Our Future 2. The River Rolls On 3. Little Melonae 4. Mellow D 5. Lullaby For Belle 6. To Us 7. NGP For Sonny P 8. Brazilia 9. Child's Play

Personnel: Dion Parson (drums), Ron Blake (sax), Carlton Holmes (piano, keyboards, organ), Ron Jackson (electric, acoustic, classical guitar), Reuben Rogers (acoustic and electric bass), Robert Thomas, Jr. (percussion), Jeremy Pelt (trumpet 3,9) Denise Jannah(voice, percussion 5,8)

Title: People Music | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Tahmun Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Heart Knows CD/LP/Track Review Heart Knows
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Jersey CD/LP/Track Review Jersey
by Geno Thackara
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Wobbly Danse Flower CD/LP/Track Review Wobbly Danse Flower
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 22, 2017
Read Carry Fire CD/LP/Track Review Carry Fire
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 22, 2017
Read A Night Walking Through Mirrors CD/LP/Track Review A Night Walking Through Mirrors
by Barry Witherden
Published: September 21, 2017
Read Jondo CD/LP/Track Review Jondo
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 21, 2017
Read "Tributango" CD/LP/Track Review Tributango
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: December 13, 2016
Read "Trio Miami" CD/LP/Track Review Trio Miami
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: November 8, 2016
Read "Binary" CD/LP/Track Review Binary
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 19, 2016
Read "Luz de Luna" CD/LP/Track Review Luz de Luna
by Jack Bowers
Published: March 9, 2017
Read "Beekman Vol. 02" CD/LP/Track Review Beekman Vol. 02
by Budd Kopman
Published: November 23, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.