Jazz CD Reviews
Aaron Parks, keyboards – Invisible Cinema – Blue Note Records
Published on August 28, 2008
(Aaron Parks – piano, Mellotron, glockenspiel, keyboards; Mike Moreno – guitar; Matt Penman, doublebass; Eric Harland, drums)
JazzTimes called 24-year-old keyboardist Aaron Parks a “New Visionary” for his explorations of modern jazz plus indie rock and hip-hop. He cites bands such as Radiohead alongside Herbie Hancock, Brad Mehldau and Terence Blanchard as some of his influences.
There seem to be a couple trends in certain jazz releases lately: the classical influence and the film soundtrack influence. Both are found in Parks’ new release, but with his own touch of breaking down barriers between genres. He says this is actually a concept album with a story line that he wants to leave open to interpretation, but there’s a narration in the sequence and song titles. I couldn’t discern it, but did enjoy the filmscore-feeling of many of the ten tracks – it’s certainly not the usual “state the theme and then blow variations on it.” Your mind can provide its own images to fit the music if you wish. Many of the tracks are very quiet and lyrical, with thoughtful improvisation. I also couldn’t discern any hip-hop influences, but since I never listen to that genre I wouldn’t know what to recognize anyway. Parks’ use of synth on four of the tracks is controlled and most effective.
TrackList: Travelers, Peaceful Warrior, Nemesis, Riddle Me This, Into the Labyrinth, Karma, Roadside Distraction, Harvesting Dance, Praise, Afterglow
– John Henry