13 January 2010

Review: No More, No Less

Jason Parker Quartet
No More, No Less

Before I review, a disclosure. Jason Parker is a Twitter friend of mine. But then again, if I didn't like this album, I probably wouldn't bother reviewing it, so at least you'll know I'm sincere.

Parker, a seasoned veteran of the Seattle jazz scene, released his second album late last year. Like his self-titled debut, the new album features his regular quartet, which includes Josh Rawlings on piano, Evan Flory-Barnes on bass and D'Vonne Lewis on drums. Alongside Bashert, a Parker original, Parker & Co. tackle a number of standards, including the Sam Rivers classic Beatrice, as well as Nick Drake's Three Hours.

It's one thing to make some bold song choices, but following through with rewarding interpretations of those tunes can be a beast of a task, one at which Parker and his sidemen excel. On Love For Sale, the group sets up a bouncy groove before launching into the melody, giving fresh perspective to a familiar tune. Parker's amalgamation of Summertime and Footprints does the same, with Flory-Barnes and Lewis creating an elastic backdrop for Rawlings, Parker, and guest saxophonist Cynthia Mullis.

Overall, the album has the feel of a mid-60s Blue Note session: swinging and spontaneous while remaining tightly orchestrated. You can name your price for a download of the album at Jason's website. You may be tempted to grab it for free, but after listening to it, you will probably guiltily go back and give him some cash. It's ok, I'm pretty sure he'll be fine with that. Want more Jason Parker? Check out his blog, where you'll find thoughts on promoting his album, being inspired by Dizzy Gillespie, and government funding for jazz, among other subjects.

Track Listing: Bashert; Mance's Dance; Idle Moments; Three Hours; Love For Sale; Beatrice Summertime/Footprints
Personnel: Jason Parker, trumpet; Josh Rawlings, piano; Evan Flory-Barnes, bass; D'Vonne Lewis, drum; Cynthia Mullis, tenor saxophone (2,3,7)

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