The Rick Parker Collective is a group of musicians drawn together by the attraction of the New York City jazz scene to young, up and coming players. This group’s new CD release New York Gravity
contains high energy, innovative and cutting edge modern creative sounds with a freewheeling and open ended approach to jazz improvisation. While the group creates angular melodies reminiscent of Thelonious Monk and pushes the boundaries of playing over chord changes or modes, the Rick Parker Collective still remains within a straight ahead harmonic framework. Of the ten tunes on the CD, seven are originals by Parker, with three contributed by sidemen Thad Wilson, Matt Grason, and Charis Ioannou.
Tunes of particular note to this listener include the title cut, "New York Gravity" that opens the recording, and sets the pace for the CD with an up tempo, angular head, and solos that unfold bursts of energy over a repetitive groove played by the bass. Also of interest is the interplay between Parker’s trombone soloing and the interactive counterpoint of Ioannou’s bass clarinet on the cut "On the Move." The piece that follows, "Transitation" is a fun, boppish, up tempo swinger with driving solos by pianist Andrew Haskell, trombonist Parker, and Ioannou’s tenor saxophone. By far, this listener’s favorite selection is "The New Path." In the liner notes Parker indicates that this was one of his first compositions. The piece holds true to the composer’s description of being inspired by a feeling of optimism that mood certainly comes through in the music.
The Rick Parker Collective is a group of accomplished musicians who are continuing to hone their craft. New York Gravity
is an invigorating collection of musical ideas that are simultaneously artistically witty enough to "hook" the ear, while remaining stimulating to one’s musical intellect. This CD is highly recommended to those listeners seeking energetic and inventive sounds and leads one to look forward to the next project by the Rick Parker Collective.