Chris Parker CD Release Party

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Chris Parker CD Release Party
While in the jazz idiom, the music on this album is wide ranging with nods to funk, blues, modern/free jazz, folk and fusion. Representative influences include Rachmaninoff, Bob Dylan and Sam Rivers; I have written arrangements of their works that have had particular meaning and importance to me. Perhaps the most ambitious component of the album is my four-movement suite for jazz quartet, the final four tracks on the album.

“Battle Hymn of the Republic” might not seem like an obvious choice for the opening track on a jazz musician’s first album as a leader, but for drummer Chris Parker, a percussive call-to-arms translated into a swinging groove is highly appropriate. Parker’s indomitable spirit, his omnivorous capacity to play numerous instruments and to operate in a wide variety of jazz contexts, is represented here by his eclectic choice of repertoire and a turn on tenor sax for his lovely, Coltranesque ballad “Positive Energy” (a fitting title from this exuberant young artist). He also shows off his arranging chops on tunes ranging from Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” (featuring singer Rachel Caswell) and Sam Rivers’ jazz standard “Beatrice” to the aforementioned “Battle Hymn” and Rachmaninoff’s “Adagio Sostenuto.” In addition, there’s an ambitious four-part suite, “Then and Now,” the punchy funk of the title track, and the hip, laid back, infectiously-catchy “It’s No Secret,” that give evidence of a compelling compositional gift. This debut outing is no one-man band, however; Parker has enlisted some of the best jazz musicians in the Midwest, including bassist Jeremy Allen, saxophonists Jamey Aebersold (showcased on “It’s No Secret”) and Rob Dixon (who powers the evolutionary surge of “Then And Now Suite”), pianist Luke Gillespie, clarinetist Frank Glover, trumpeter Pat Harbison, and guitarist Dave Stryker (check out his tour de force solo on “Trippin-A-Let")—testament to the respect that he’s already earned from his older colleagues. Moving Forward Now leaves me excited to hear where Chris Parker will be going next; wherever it is, he’s well on his way.