Rick Parker (tb), Charis Ioannou (ts, ss, b-cl), Andrew Haskell (p, Fender Rhodes), Matt Grason (b), Kyle Struve (d), Thad Wilson (tp, flh)
Bar code: 8427328421928
Trombonist/composer Rick Parker releases his first CD as a leader entitled "New York Gravity" with his group, the Rick Parker Collective. The group performs all original compositions and also features trumpeter/composer Thad Wilson who has been one of the fixtures of the Washington, DC jazz scene since moving there five years ago.
Since relocating to New York in September of 2001, Rick Parker has already performed at several of the city's major jazz clubs including Birdland, the Jazz Gallery, the Knitting Factory and Kavehaz. In addition to leading his own group, the Rick Parker Collective, he is a member of Kuumba Frank Lacy's Vibe Tribe. Rick was also selected to participate in the Kennedy Center's "Betty Carter Jazz Ahead" invitation only workshop for composers/soloists where he studied under Curtis Fuller, Dr. Nathan Davis and Eric Reid among others. In March, 2002, he was also named runner up in the Eastern Trombone Workshop National Solo Competition. Since graduating from Georgetown University with a B.A. in economics in, Rick has begun studying towards his masters in jazz performance at New York University.
Born in 1978, Rick has already performed with such jazz greats as George Benson, Grady Tate, Cecil Bridgewater, Frank Lacy and Andrew White in venues across the world including the Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland), Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Birdland, Blues Alley (DC), Jazz Club (Argentina) and Oliveria Always (Argentina). He has studied with Conrad Herwig, Frank Lacy, Steve Davis, Don Freidman and Per Brevig.
Before moving to New York, Rick was making a name for himself on the DC jazz scene where he performed with the 16-piece Thad Wilson Jazz Orchestra, a group for which he also composed, his own small groups, and with several salsa bands. He appears on recordings including A Work In Progress, Thad Wilson Jazz Orchestra and Riot at the Mardi Gras Dance Hall, One Too Many.
Born in 1965, trumpeter/composer Thad Wilson has become one of the premier jazz musicians in Washington, DC. His big band, the Thad Wilson Jazz Orchestra which plays almost entirely original compositions and arrangements, has performed almost every week for the past four years and currently performs weekly at HR57 in Washington, DC. He has collaborated with and arranged for Grady Tate and Andrew White and has performed with such notables as Charlie Persip Super Band, James Moody, Johnny Oneal, Benny Golson, McCoy Tyner, George Benson and Wynton Marsalis. Thad has lead groups at venues including the Atlanta Jazz Festival and Blues Alley and currently performs with five piece ensembles, Inner Urge and the North/South Ensemble. He appears on Naked Jazz Takes Off, Savoy Jazz Label, New York Gravity, Rick Parker Collective and his own, A Work In Progress, Thad Wilson Jazz Orchestra.
"Trombonist/composer/leader Rick Parker and his band are the best-kept secret in New York right now. But in light of this fine debut and a steadily growing live demand, the secret is not likely to be kept much longer.
At 25, Parker is already a tested vet, sharing his horn talents with Frank Ku-umba Lacys colossal Vibe Tribe, the Charlie Persip Superband, and his own trio, in addition to the sextet featured here. A Connecticut-born Yankee, Parker started out playing in ska bands before meeting up with his mentor, esteemed DC-area trumpeter / flugelhornist / composer Thad Wilson.
Ironically, it was session guest Wilson, the only player here who has not succumbed to Gothams residential lure, who penned the title piece. Opening the album and boldly establishing the group's hard bop M.O., "New York Gravity" is a disorienting ride through Midtown's chaotic, claustrophobic streetscape. Full of Monkish, angular arrangements, it also boasts an excellent downward-spiraling break from drummer Kyle Struve.
On "Experiment in Mist-ery" and "Thank You," bassist Matt Grason and pianist Andrew Haskell ably conjure the moody, rain-swept backdrop of the classic Coltrane Quartets most introspective moments; "M.C. Filmmaker" boasts Haskell's welcome, novel use of Fender Rhodes, recalling The Doors "Riders on the Storm" or any number of '70s R&B chillers...no bad thing at all. The band's secret weapon is Charis Ioannou, on soprano and tenor saxes and bass clarinet. Tracks like the explosive "The New Path" and the appropriately sinister "10/31 at Dusk" feature Parker's lusty smears and patented skewed horn charts, but also give Ioannu ample ceiling height with which to blow his (and our) brains out.
At times dissonant but overflowing with the smoky noir of early Lounge Lizards, New York Gravity is a winning fist effort, one that pulls of the tricky task of being both fresh and familiar. Fans of modern as well as slightly bent straightahead sounds will devour it, eagerly awaiting Parker's next outing."
-Peter Aaron, All About Jazz
"Trombonist Rick Parker, a recent Georgetown University graduate, is now based in New York and, to judge by his debut CD, becoming thoroughly immersed in the sounds of Gotham. But he hasn't entirely cut his ties to Washington.
Trumpeter Thad Wilson, who leads his own jazz orchestra in the District, plays dual roles on "New York Gravity" -- he's the author of the album's title track and an instrumentalist responsible for much of the music's drama and vibrancy. In fact, the album's opening cuts -- "Gravity" and the Parker-penned atmospheric ballad "Experiment in "Mist-ery" -- establish the Collective's modern thrust, with push-pull arrangements that shift from a static pulse to swing motion and horn parts that sometimes spill out of hard-bop patterns into splashes of dissonance.
The introduction of a Fender Rhodes keyboard on "M.C. Filmmaker," played by Andrew Haskell, later conjures a slice of fusion-etched noir. Along with bassist Matt Grason's haunting ballad "Thank You" and Parker's colorfully woven ballad "The Exit," it inspires the most subdued and consistently expressive trombone performances. The latter piece is also warmly enhanced by the sound of Wilson's flugelhorn and reedman Charis Ioannou's deft doubling on soprano sax and bass clarinet. "Transitation," another electric keyboard outing for Haskell, albeit a more whimsical one, and the outgoing "Going Out," vigorously animated by Haskell and drummer Kyle Struve, help round out an impressive debut."
-Mike Joyce, Washington Post
"Trombonist Rick Parker is rapidly developing as a leader / composer / arranger who exhibits tremendous creativity and musicality. On New York Gravity, the Rick Parker Collective comes out smoking on Thad Wilson's track of the same name and immediately pulls you into their gravitational field. Wilson, who also appears as a guest trumpeter / flügelhornist on the CD alongside Chris Ioannou on soprano/tenor saxophones and bass clarinet, Andrew Haskell on piano and Fender Rhodes, Matt Grason on double bass, and Kyle Struve on drums, places the emphasis on swing and does so in a big way. Parker is no less hard-driving on his trombone solos, and once heard on "Experiment in Mist-ery," he steps aside to let Wilson's rapid-fire lines take over. His dizzying array of quotes sets the stage for the mysterious sound of Ioannou's soprano sax, and this gripping performance hints that there are perhaps more musical sides to the freer art than previously expected. Parker wrote all of the songs except the title track, "Thank You," and "Going Out," yet all three songs were contributed by musicians who also performed on this session. With New York Gravity, the Rick Parker Collective has blazed "The New Path" for modern jazz enthusiasts, one that can be recommended for constant travel in your musical journeys. Top picks: "New York Gravity," "Transitation," "The New Path," and the burner "Going Out."
-Paula Edelstein, All Music Guide
"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 groups 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 listene's favorite selection is "The New Path."
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."
-Craig W. Hurst, Jazz Review
"The New York trombonist/leader and his group could be labeled as modern cool. In his mid-twenties Parker has forged a very nice recording and critics have quoted his band as the best-kept secret in New York.., With sharp writing the music is interesting, harmonious, and supported by a seminal group of young artists. The first five selections on the recording swing and groove with spicy horn arrangements and tempos and the last five are just as good with moments of creative energy on On the Move with touches of clarinet and Parker's warm trombone. The closing piece 10/31 At Dusk is a personal favorite with its cool middle Eastern rhythm. 'Bone enthusiasts from JJ Johnson to Steve Turre, as well has those looking for some hip new sounds should definitely take a look."
-Mark F. Turner, All About Jazz, January 2005