“Aaron Parks Little Big”, the new Ropeadope album from the acclaimed pianist, keyboardist and composer, is at once the culmination of his brilliant early career and the long-awaited follow-up to his Blue Note Records debut, “Invisible Cinema”. That earlier release, with its gorgeously melodic writing and improvising and deft us of indie-rock, electronica and hip-hop elements, established Parks as of the most gifted and original young voices in jazz. “This is the natural successor to that record,” says the New York-based Parks, 34. “It’s taking the ideas of that project and doubling down on them–fully committing to that direction.”
After experimenting with various lineups and sessions, Parks landed on three musicians ideally suited for this atmospheric, genre-bending new work. GREG TUOHEY (guitar) is the longest-running member, a guitarist who places taste and tone ahead of chops-focused bravado–or, as Parks puts it, “It’s like he’s chasing Miles Davis’ phrasing with Jimi Hendrix’s attitude.” DAVID “DJ” GINYARD (electric bass) is a left-handed player with a distinctively lyrical approach and an aptitude for seeing the bigger musical picture. “He really understands what the bass does, and he thinks super compositionally” Parks says, noting how some of Ginyard’s basslines have become integral to the songs. Anchoring the unit is TOMMY CRANE (drummer), a forward-looking, stylistically resourceful musician who brings both explosive creativity and a producer’s knack for precision. “He has a very unique ability to internalize and commit to the particular heartbeat of each song,” Parks explains, “but always with this vital and elastic human element, which is rare to hear in combination with the kinds of grooves we’re exploring.”
A prodigal talent raised outside of Seattle, Parks moved at 16 to NYC to study at the Manhattan School of Music. Two years later, at the recommendation of his teacher Kenny Barron, Parks joined the band of trumpet great Terence Blanchard. That tenure began his relationship with Blue Note, yielding “Invisible Cinema” which was released when Parks was just 24. JazzTimes named Parks a “New Jazz Visionary”, alongside current giants like Esperanza Spalding, Robert Glasper and Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah.
AARON PARKS LITTLE BIG
Aaron Parks – piano/keyboards
Tommy Crane – drums
David “DJ” Ginyard – electric bass
Greg Tuohey – guitar