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Jazz

Call it kitchen-sink piano jazz

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July 29, 2008

Aaron Parks

Invisible Cinema (Blue Note)

ESSENTIAL "Peaceful Warrior"

From the metallic, herky-jerky, acoustic-electronica beat of "Travelers," it's crystal clear that this is a different sort of piano jazz record. Sure, the composition of the group - pianist Aaron Parks, guitarist Mike Moreno, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Eric Harland - is normal and innocuous. What they do is not. Everything is in this mix: classical influence, bop-based grooves, rock attitude, film-score drama, and hip-hop textures. Parks himself is a newbie; a 24-year-old Seattle native, he played with trumpeter Terence Blanchard before striking out on his own. It's obvious that the lines between the genres are less distinct for the newest generation of jazz musicians. They absorb Bird and Bechet, but they also take in Pink Floyd and Radiohead. That sort of open-mindedness manifests itself throughout Parks's debut album, which is out Aug. 19. "Peaceful Warriors" soars to several climaxes, driven as much by the crazed drums and bass as by the dynamic interplay between piano and guitar. One note - repeated and repeated, while chords change and a rock beat pounds - is all the quartet needs to create an infection with "Nemesis." "Invisible Cinema" is the opposite of a silent film. The soundtrack is provided; the listener brings the visuals. [Steve Greenlee]

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