We can stop talking about pianist Aaron Parks coming into his own now, because after enough time as a sideman and as a leader (2008’s incredible Invisible Cinema, he’s there. With his ECM debut Arborescence, Parks gets a disc to play with on his own, and he does what he does to good effect. If one of the primary draws of Invisible Cinema was Parks’s ability to set a mood, then it’s a craft he’s developing further here. The album’s marked as the contemplative improv set, but he’s boiling underneath, on reserved numbers and on energetic tracks like “In Pursuit”. That track hunts, but following number “Squirrels” plays, clowning in its circular pattern. The moods frequently develop around melody, and Parks has a sense of how to develop his work across an entire piece. It’s a strong album, and what we should be expecting from him.
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