Poor Gil Parris. The session guitarist offered up a solo CD on a record label that immediately folded. Thanks to the Internet, of course, you can locate his new CD and determine if it’s your cup of tea before purchasing. Now Parris has decided to turn a negative into a positive by offering both his new CD and a new live DVD as a combo buy on his website. If you needed proof that jazz artists are more in control of their destiny today than ever before, here you go. The music? Strength is serviceable pop-jazz that tilts electric, scoring points especially on “Together Again” and “When Love Was New” with their drawn-out guitar notes a la Carlos Santana. Too often, though, the project seems to draw inspiration from the funky smooth-jazz boilerplate that sounded fairly cool in 1985 but not so much today.
Much more involving is Gil Parris and Friends Live, a DVD recorded at Irvington Town Hall Theater in New York. Guest spots featuring trumpeter Randy Brecker, saxophonist David Mann and guitarist/ex-New York Yankee Bernie Williams help turn an intimate evening into an engaging concert.