Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Aaron Parks - Arborescence (ECM, 2013)

Pianist Aaron Parks gained a lot of recognition for his album Invisible Cinema where his atmospheric and thought provoking compositions and performances seemed tailor made for the big screen. In this regard, it is fortuitous that he should be signed by ECM, as their exacting and crystalline production values make a fine fit for this album of solo piano. There is a feeling of slow and haunted patience to the music on this album. It’s hard to shake the idea of film scoring, in this case as a soundtrack to deep-blue noir movie where the broken detective faces a dark night of the soul on remorseless rain drenched streets of a late night city before seeking redemption and solace. Parks entered the studio without much material prepared, and it worked in his behalf, in fact it is possible to compare this album to another famous ECM pianist, Keith Jarrett. There are echoes of the spontaneous composition employed by Jarrett in his early solo work like the Koln Concerts and the Bremen/Lausanne concerts. Parks plays in a less florid manner, making each note count and allowing the silence of the recording hall to act as a silent partner in the music. The music ebbs and flows gently and reaches out to invite you into a hypnotic dream world. This album certainly isn’t background music, but close listening yields a thoughtful and consistently well played album. Parks lets his guard down and plays with an open vulnerability, taking inspiration from iconoclasts Paul Bley and Ran Blake in the liner notes, while creating a unique statement of his own. Arborescence - amazon.com

Send comments to Tim.