11 Songs, 49 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The pianist Aaron Parks—who's been a sideman to Terence Blanchard and is a member of James Farm (a band that includes Joshua Redman)—got quite a bit of attention for his 2008 Blue Note release Invisible Cinema, where he led a fine quartet. On his 2013 ECM debut, Arborescence, Parks goes it alone. The album captures solo piano improvisations where little has been worked out in advance. Parks has spoken of the influence of Keith Jarrett and Paul Bley, and you can hear that in his playing. But Arborescence shows that Parks has his own distinctive voice. The first track, “Asleep in the Forest,” opens with a passage that recalls French Impressionism more than jazz. The piece moves forward from there; it’s nicely structured and even songlike at times. “In Pursuit” bristles with energy as left-hand block chords create tension. Caught up in the drama, Parks quietly sings along. “Squirrels” captivates the ear with its dashing lines, especially when Parks flirts with atonality. “Homestead,” which evokes old churches, rural life, and traditional ways, serves as the closer.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The pianist Aaron Parks—who's been a sideman to Terence Blanchard and is a member of James Farm (a band that includes Joshua Redman)—got quite a bit of attention for his 2008 Blue Note release Invisible Cinema, where he led a fine quartet. On his 2013 ECM debut, Arborescence, Parks goes it alone. The album captures solo piano improvisations where little has been worked out in advance. Parks has spoken of the influence of Keith Jarrett and Paul Bley, and you can hear that in his playing. But Arborescence shows that Parks has his own distinctive voice. The first track, “Asleep in the Forest,” opens with a passage that recalls French Impressionism more than jazz. The piece moves forward from there; it’s nicely structured and even songlike at times. “In Pursuit” bristles with energy as left-hand block chords create tension. Caught up in the drama, Parks quietly sings along. “Squirrels” captivates the ear with its dashing lines, especially when Parks flirts with atonality. “Homestead,” which evokes old churches, rural life, and traditional ways, serves as the closer.

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