Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

186

Antonio Parker & Sounds of the City: The Exchange

Matt Merewitz By

Sign in to view read count
With Sounds of the City, Antonio Parker has put himself on the map as both a performer and composer. The songs on The Exchange show his vast array of influences, from straight-ahead bop to world music. More than anything else, Parker's writing for the ensemble shines. With a penchant for both catchy melodies and pastiche, his compositional approach is interesting to analyze. Having toured Africa with the State Department's Jazz Ambassadors program, Parker says he was inspired to create a "world jazz" album that accurately portrayed all of his influences.

Parker certainly achieves variety on this self-produced debut album. "Sounds of the City" is a direct tribute to Chick Corea's perennial favorite, "Spain." However, "Soweto," "The Journey of Songhai," and "The Last Dance" all prove Parker's ability to write solid original compositions. The downside to the album, though, is that the compositions begin to repeat themselves. The chordal differences between "Soweto" and "Nigerian Folk Song" are unintelligible. And to me, "Prayer for Africa" seems better suited for a sacred choral program, not amidst a set of rhythmically charged grooves. Maybe Parker was striving for diversity, but it just doesn't seem to fit. In trying to achieve the idea of "world jazz," there is a bit too much world - and not enough jazz (which he is very much capable of, as I have witnessed on numerous occasions).

Nevertheless, each performer brings an excellent knowledge of his or her instrument to the table. Fluid improvisation is second nature to all the musicians. Vince Evans is an remarkable pianist and a master of chord voicings and he is well-backed by bassist Yusef Chisholm, whose stylistic nuances make the tunes believable. Evans' percussional contribution to "A Luta Continua" is indispensable to the groove (not surprising considering he wrote the tune).

Along the lines of percussion, you couldn't ask for better auxiliary percussion than Sam Turner provides. And Jamal Brown's flute on the Latin-inspired tunes is a smart addition to the group (notably as he nods to the late Joe Farrell, Chick Corea's flutist and saxophonist, on "Sounds of the City"). In addition, the voice-overs by Parker, vocalist Imani, and drummer Lenny Robinson are a nice touch.

Overall, Parker deserves the most credit for bringing all these exceptional musicians together under one banner. The ensemble does its job quite well, making the case for a repertoire that easy to listen to, yet rhythmically and melodically pleasing.

Three stars (out of four).


Track Listing: A Luta Continua; Sounds of the City; Prayer for Africa; Soweto; The Journey of Songhai; Yesterday; The Last Dance; Fela's Shrine; Adam in the Lion's Den; Adeola; Nigerian Folk Song; The Exchange

Personnel: Antonio Parker - alto and soprano saxophones, vocals (tracks 9, 10); Jamal Brown - flute; Vince Evans - piano, keyboards; Vinny Valentino - guitar; Yusef Chisholm - bass; Sam Turner - percussion; Keith Killgo - drums; Imani - vocal (tracks 3,10); Patrick De Santos - vocals (tracks 1, 2, 6, 9, 10); Lenny Robinson - drums (tracks 1, 3, 11), vocal (track 9); Michael Thomas - trumpet; Laron Land - tenor saxophone; Reginald Cyntje - trombone

Title: The Exchange | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Interchange

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read OR CD/LP/Track Review OR
by Geno Thackara
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Reaching Out CD/LP/Track Review Reaching Out
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 18, 2018
Read The Songbook Project CD/LP/Track Review The Songbook Project
by Don Phipps
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Solo a Genova CD/LP/Track Review Solo a Genova
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 18, 2018
Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read "Humanity" CD/LP/Track Review Humanity
by Jim Olin
Published: October 5, 2017
Read "Here Today" CD/LP/Track Review Here Today
by Tyran Grillo
Published: December 26, 2017
Read "Body and Shadow" CD/LP/Track Review Body and Shadow
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 26, 2017
Read "Parts Unknown" CD/LP/Track Review Parts Unknown
by Friedrich Kunzmann
Published: October 25, 2017
Read "Mercerville" CD/LP/Track Review Mercerville
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 31, 2017
Read "Double Mirror" CD/LP/Track Review Double Mirror
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 8, 2017