Skilled pianist/composer/arranger Teri Parker has just released a remarkable project that began as an immersive writing experience… sans any pre-conceptions, and yet rife with a wide variety of influences. With the exception of two exquisite tracks (Segment by Charlie Parker and Retrograde by British producer/vocalist James Blake), all compositions have emerged from the creative soul of Parker. As she has so succinctly said, “Music is just sound particles in the air, but it doesn’t exist until you make it exist.” Parker has assembled a fine complement here, including Luis Deniz on alto and soprano sax, Mark Godfrey on bass, Ernesto Cervini on drums and special guest Andrew McAnsh on trumpet.
The opening salvo, Becoming (inspired by Michelle Obama’s memoire), is replete with a languid, mystical intro featuring the supple Deniz and McAnsh, which gives way to a stirring and rhythmic melodic line, imbued with the sheer beauty and power of Parker’s piano. McAnsh provides a stunner of a solo here, engaging fully with the solid rhythm section. The groovy-cool Humph was written in tribute to the late bop-saxophonist Dewey Redman and masterfully lauds his eccentric style and command of his instrument. Deniz shines on alto here, and also on Desolate Places, which is a sumptuous, lilting duet between Parker and Deniz on soprano. Parker’s Segment is also a stunner, rendered here with all bop sensibilities intact, but also informed by Parker’s contemporary view, as well as her highly intuitive comping and potent soloing.
The closer of this fine recording, Strolling, is a sultry exploration, replete with a luscious solo by Parker and dynamic percussion by Cervini. Nimble bassist Godfrey is also featured, with Deniz serving as the magical glue which encircles and binds the ensemble in pure creativity.