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(52:05, Ancient-Future Records))
TRACK LIST: 1. Affinity minus One 7:40 2. Close Passage 6:55 3. For the Waters 6:30 4. Torredembarra 5:36 5. Song for Satie 4:35 6. Sangria 6:12 7. Jaguar Dance 5:09 8. Milo's Moment 9:28 LINEUP: Mariah Parker – piano; santur Paul McCandless – horns, reeds Matthew Montfort – guitars Brian Rice – percussion With: Kash Killion – bass Fred Randolph – bass Ian Dogole – percussion Duru Demetrius – congas Debopriyo Sarkar – tablas
Prolusion. US composer and musician Mariah PARKER has been actively interested in music since her childhood, and has been involved in various projects over the years as well as being a performer on the festival circuit in the US as well as Europe. She took the step up to be a band leader in 2009 with the release of her first solo album "Sangria". In 2016 she followed up that recording with the live album "Indo latin Jazz Live in Concert".
Analysis. As the title of the album indicates, this is a production that revolves around jazz rather than progressive rock. While this website primarily focuses on progressive rock, many fans of our main genre have an interest in jazz too. So while this isn't a production that will appeal too much to dedicated fans of progressive rock, those with an interest in jazz as well as progressive rock might want to read on. The Indo Latin part of the title of this CD is, at least for me, a misleading one. There are occasional timbres and sounds of the kind I do associate with Eastern music at hand here, but they have a minor and supporting role whenever they appear, at least as I experience this material as a mere listener. People with a stronger background in music history and theory will probably be able to pick up stronger tendencies of the stated Indo influence here, but those who, like me, are mere listeners will probably find that the Latin aspect of the CD is one rather more up front and dominant. The core features of the greater majority of the songs are wandering piano motifs, plucked wandering guitar soloing and smooth, fluctuating and wandering saxophone solo runs. Occasionally the saxophone will be used to convey modes of a more expressive nature as well, but rarely, if ever, entering the kinds of landscapes one would describe as challenging. Smooth, layered flows of melody and harmony define this production, where interwoven triple instrument harmonies are paired off with sequences with one or more instruments having a dominant role while the other have a subservient, support presence. Pleasantly engaging throughout, with enough variation to maintain interest and managing to avoid coming across as one-dimensional or stale, uplifting and subtly joyful music too more often than not, in creations of a slow to mid-paced tempo and with smooth harmony-oriented themes. A steady and constant present are Latin rhythms, of the kind that gives me an association towards bossa nova more than anything, although one may of course question that association from a person without an educated or practical music background and with only a surface knowledge about jazz as such. Still, that was the connection in my mind for the greater parts of this recording. There are exceptions, of course, one exception being the piano and saxophone only presence on the melancholic Song for Satie, another the more vibrant, samba-oriented sequences on concluding track Milo's Moment. The use of the santur in one composition also gives that track a stronger Eastern feel. As far as live recordings go, this is a quality capture of selected moments from two different concerts, where the instruments are finely balanced and are captured in high detail. If the sound in the venues came across as well as on this album, where, I presume, the audio has been captured directly from the soundboard and then worked with afterwards, the people at those venues have had a very pleasant concert experience indeed.
Conclusion. While the material of Mariah Parker isn't of a kind and nature that will have a general appeal for fans of progressive rock, those with a fascination for smooth jazz with an emphasis of flow, melody and harmony might find this live album to be worth spending some time with. Those whose tastes are more aligned with the challenging and more abrasive aspects of jazz will not find much to please them on the album, but if you tend to find Latin rhythms and bossa nova tendencies explored in listener friendly melodic jazz landscapes to be generally appealing, there are chances that you'll be charmed by this disc.
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