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Funky Feet by Phil Parnell 3

This group dubs its offering here as an "unusual trio recording." There are some atypical "moments" in this album, including some interesting utterances, sounds, chord voicings, and odd interjections (at least, odd to me.) Still, you’ll find that most of this is very recognizable and refreshing straight-ahead jazz occasionally attempting to experiment with journeys to "other" places.

There are very active fretless bass lines, piano runs, and drum offerings that will truly catch the ear of any serious jazz purist. The first and title track is a rich, euphonic piece of work that lends itself to comparison to some of the greats. The second, "Never Days," an airy, light, and busy little number, captures the trio in a very flattering light, as it sashays its way to the next piece. Now, that next piece, "Years Ago," is an eight-minute slow stroll that seems to be all about expression, mood, and, yes, a touch of selfish introspection but, as offered, it would almost have to be such in order to be effective. The bluesier "I’ve Got to Find My Way Back to You" is a marvelous New Orleans-style, straight-ahead, lazy testimonial to jazz. The jumpy, lively "Purple Gazelle" (the track with the "interesting utterances and sounds" at the beginning) also has a nice N’Orleans feel to it. "Inside Out" may be a little unusual in a self-indulgent way, but it does find its way in and out of just good straight-ahead jazz. You may have to stay with it a bit to appreciate and grasp its direction. Before you know it, you’re on Bourbon Street, not knowing when or how it happened. Interesting, tricky little "mobile" piece.

This is an entertaining group with an entertaining--and sometimes odd--project. It goes places and returns to familiar ground, then ventures out again. If you can stay with it, you just may find it worth your while.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Phil Parnell 3
  • CD Title: Funky Feet
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2006
  • Record Label: Village Studio Records
  • Rating: Three Stars
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