AARON PARKS, Little Big (Ropeadope, 2018)
PERSONNEL: Aaron Parks (piano and keyboards); Greg Tuohey (guitar); David Ginyard (bass); Tommy Crane (drums)
- Small Planet
- The Trickster
- Professor Strangeweather
- Digital Society
- The Fool
- Rising Mind
- Good Morning
- Doors Open
The music of Aaron Parks strikes to the very core of “FutureJazz,” the best term to define the jazz of the new century. While there are no doubt connections to the classic art form, the electronics and rhythms augmenting the music bring the sound wonderfully up to date.
With Little Big, Parks and his quartet have successfully blurred the line between the jazzy and the electronic, offering aching melodies from the leader’s piano augmented with the guitar stabs, soundscapes, and counter-melodies of guitarist Greg Tuohey and the low-end groovy “thump” that seems to be the trademark of bands on the Ropeadope label.
“Kid,” the album’s opener, sets the tone nicely. The band’s identity seems to establish itself before taking a quick left turn into “Lilac,” where Parks displays his Herbie Hancock-like touch on his keyboard. Then things return to “normal” as the band picks up where it left off.
The group makes some interesting sounds at the lower end of the register, almost giving the music a hip-hop flavor. One of the things that makes FutureJazz so interesting is it blurs line between pre-established musical genres. This album is a prime example, showing how such a distortion only makes the music better.
Fans of bands like Snarky Puppy and GoGo Penguin will find it easy to relate to and enjoy this album. The music seems designed to be played live. It is open and spacious, and not in a particular hurry to get anywhere, in a positive way.
Little Big is groovy, on multiple levels.
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That’s one cute kid!
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