Oct 16, 2018
Aaron Parks seems to be destined to be one of those pianists who chooses projects (or has projects choose him) that become great sessions or performances. Whether we listen to him with the bands led by Terence Blanchard or Kurt Rosenwinkel; as a member of James Farm with Joshua Redman, Matt Penman and Eric Harland; on his great quartet album Invisible Cinema; or playing classic trio or solo piano (Arborescence), Parks always seems in the middle of something particularly notable.
Aaron Parks Little Big finds him building a new band, one more collaborative in nature that some of his earlier sideman gigs. Parks plays piano, and fills out the band with Greg Tuohey on guitar; David 'DJ' Ginyard, a veteran of Blanchard’s E-Collective, on bass; and Tommy Crane on drums. Aaron is drawn to the sound of electric guitar (he has recorded with Rosenwinkel, Mike Moreno, Lage Lund) and this album is no different, although Tuohey strays from classic jazz guitar sound to really rip it up on “ .“ Ginyard is given room to stretch, moving from mere timekeeper to an active participation in the improvisation of the group. Crane is restrained, but shows glimmers of flash when the time is right. All in all, this is a solid album by a working group, and a working group that hopefully will continue to grow together.
Podcast 641 is my conversation with Aaron Parks, as we talk about his search for the right sound for the new CD’s tunes, what each member of the group brings to the table, and what the future holds not just for this group, but himself and James Farm. Musical selections from Aaron Parks Little Big include “Digital Society" and "Small Planet."