Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Aaron Parks: Arborescence

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

Released eight days after the pianist turned 30, Aaron Parks’ Arborescence is understandably preoccupied with growth. If one’s first solo album is a rite of passage, this expansive, impressionistic outing sounds like a vision quest. For 50 minutes, Parks wanders through dreamlike landscapes, unafraid to have ideas before he knows what they are. Moments of realization throughout bring these 11 improvisations into focus-with transient cadences, lyrical upwellings and shifts in rhythm-flashing the forest for the trees.

Arborescence moves, if more by imagination than any formal sense of direction. “In Pursuit” is a six-minute experiment in repetition, with stubborn notes and phrases percussed insistently to incantatory effect. “Squirrels” is a short but detailed essay in jazz vernacular, pitched at a pace that recalls the zippy chittering of its namesake. Even the more spacious tracks (“Asleep in the Forest” and “Elsewhere”) develop their own kaleidoscopic torque.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published