The Aaron Parks Quartet
Live At 92Y Tribeca
New York, NY USA

As broadcast live over 88.3 WBGO-FM, Newark, NJ USA.
Part of the ongoing series "The Checkout Live", hosted
by Josh Jackson.

WBGO-FM > ADCOM GTP-450 Tuner > Edirol R-09HR (44.1/16) >
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Posted Oct 2011.

Track List:

01 - Intro By Josh Jackson (:52)
02 - Dreams Of A Mechanical Man (6:12)
03 - Band Intro And Chat (2:32)
04 - Adrift (5:57)
05 - In A Garden (5:13)
06 - The Shadow And The Self (5:01)
07 - Chat (1:52)
08 - The Storyteller (4:22)
09 - Your Favorite Raincoat (7:17)
10 - Chat (1:48)
11 - Siren (10:38)
12 - Outro By Josh Jackson (:28)

Total Running Time: 55:00

The Aaron Parks Quartet are:
Aaron Parks - piano
Chris Smith - bass
Marlon Browden - drums
Pete Rende - synthesizers

Aaron Parks info: (official site) (wiki entry)

WBGO/NPR show link:

Radio Credits:
Josh Jackson - host
David Tallacksen - mix engineer
Michael Downes - assistant
Lara Pellegrinelli - moderator
Patrick Jarenwattananon - web producer
Thurston Briscoe (WBGO) Ana Grunman (NPR Music) - executive producers
Michelle Thompson and the staff of 92Y Tribeca


NY Times review:

October 28, 2011

A Young Bassist, a Young Pianist, Two Sets: So Similar, and Yet So Different

Derrick Hodge, a 32-year-old bassist, and Aaron Parks, a 28-year-old pianist,
share a wide-open view of music making, an agenda of unfolding possibility.
They both come out of jazz and still basically belong to it, though their
output reflects whole-body immersion in R&B, gospel and hip-hop (Mr. Hodge);
classically tempered indie rock (Mr. Parks); and atmospheric film music (both).
For a handful of years they both worked in a band led by the trumpeter
Terence Blanchard, an important mentor for dozens of musicians their age.
But their aesthetic differences were what stood out at 92YTriBeCa on Wednesday
night as each led his own band.

The concert was broadcast live on WBGO-FM (88.3), and presented in conjunction
with “The Checkout,” an hourlong program on that station hosted by Josh Jackson.
(Video of the concert was streamed online at, where it
has since been archived.) Mr. Jackson, an adept and sympathetic interviewer,
engaged both artists in conversation onstage, without knocking the performances
off balance. He had also taped segments for use during the set change, one of
which included Mr. Hodge’s characterization of jazz as fundamentally an
approach, rather than a style.

That conviction held fast in Mr. Hodge’s set, which drew from “Live Today,”
his forthcoming debut album. He played electric bass throughout, alongside
the trumpeter Dontae Winslow, the pianist Kris Bowers and the drummer
Jamire Williams.

Their chief concern was groove, often in a deep, gluey cadence that opened
plenty of space for melody. “The Real” set the tone, with a chime of Fender
Rhodes piano cushioning its heavy downbeat. A similar mood prevailed on
“Dancing With Ancestors” and on a hauntingly sparse arrangement of “Fall,”
the Wayne Shorter tune.

Mr. Hodge knows how to run a band — he’s been doing great things in that
capacity for the R&B singer Maxwell — and he brought clear authority to the
task here. His hook-up with Mr. Williams was casually tight; together they
formed the foundation for strong, declarative solos by their band mates.
(Mr. Winslow was more galvanizing, but Mr. Bowers was more inventive and balanced.)

The singer-songwriter Alan Hampton dropped in briefly on a song of Mr. Hodge’s,
“Holding Onto You.” And there were several unaccompanied bass solos, sparse
and engrossing, that brought a welcome ebb and flow to the pacing of the set.

More of that variety might have helped Mr. Parks, who sustained a dreamlike
haze of drifting polyrhythm. There was a lot to admire in his current setup,
which pairs his crisp, articulate pianism with the alien glow emanating from
Pete Rende’s vintage analog synthesizers, over a light churn of bass
(Chris Smith) and drums (Marlon Browden).

Some of Mr. Parks’s tunes, like “Your Favorite Raincoat,” were richly
melancholy; “The Storyteller” had a rewardingly sprightly feel. “Siren” involved
a sophisticated but intuitive chord progression, like something by
Antonio Carlos Jobim.

But it grew monotonous: The grooves often felt static, suggesting agitation
without momentum. And the band — performing for the first time, Mr. Parks
acknowledged in one of his onstage exchanges with Mr. Jackson — never fully
cohered. It all felt slightly provisional. Which was more a problem of
execution than of design, but still a problem.


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