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Joe Parillo: Segments

The primary purpose of Segments is to display eight original compositions by Joe Parillo. He mostly writes lilting, well-proportioned, pop-inflected sweet songs. Parillo the piano improviser is precise and fleet enough, but he is not interested in venturing far from what he has written or in disturbing the neat tied-in-a-bow symmetries of his tunes. Much of the solo interest here is generated by guest Jay Hoggard. The addition of Hoggard’s vibraphone to Parillo’s trio (Bryan Rizzuto, bass; Eric Platz, drums) fills out this music and creates layers of trebly pointillism. Parillo’s light, smooth melodies are strengthened by Hoggard’s restatements, and deepened by his departures.

There are some nice moments. Hoggard and Rizzuto make you want to follow their extended wanderings away from “Sandbox,” an atypically aggressive Parillo tune that generates genuine clout. Parillo’s best writing comes on two pieces with the Aura Orchestra (four strings, flute, oboe, French horn). “Aura” is both more suggestively implicit and more substantial than anything else on Segments, and Parillo develops it and empowers it through many intersecting lines of counterpoint within the large ensemble.

Originally Published