Pianist Aaron Parks is a forward-thinking jazz musician who came to the public's attention during his time with trumpeter Terence Blanchard. Almost since the beginning of his recording career, he has assumed an intuitive union of modern jazz, Eastern modalities, and atmospheric indie rock. Comfortable with the pyrotechnics of post-bop as well as sparse, sculpted, questioning tone poems and lithe melodies both minimal and maximal, Parks actively considers the seams where musical forms speak to one another and articulates from there, as evidenced by his debut album, 2008's Invisible Cinema, and 2018's Little Big.
Parks has released several albums under his own name, including his 2008 Blue Note debut, Invisible Cinema. He was an integral part of the James Farm Quartet with Joshua Redman, Matt Penman, and Eric Harland. Nonesuch released their self-titled album in 2011. The pianist subsequently signed to ECM and released the solo piano offering Arborescence in the fall of 2013. He also made sideman appearances on Will Vinson's Live at Smalls and Yeahwon Shin's Lua Ya, and Live in Japan with his own trio of Thomas Morgan and RJ Miller. It was recorded on the pianist's phone during a show and released for free on his Bandcamp page. Parks cut Groovements in a collaborative trio with Danish bassist Thomas Fonnesbæk and drummer Karsten Bagge for Stunt in 2016. He moved back to ECM in 2017 for his sophomore label date, Find the Way, issued in the late spring. It featured bassist Ben Street and drummer Billy Hart in the rhythm section and was inspired in part (according to Parks) by the music of Alice Coltrane and Shirley Horn (for whom Hart played), both of whom prioritized space and subtlety in composition and improvisation.
In 2018, Parks issued Little Big on Ropeadope. Named after an epic fantasy novel by author John Crowley, it also served as the moniker for a new ensemble featuring guitarist Greg Tuohey, bassist David "DJ" Ginyard, Jr., and drummer Tommy Crane; like Parks, they are all musicians who refuse the artificial genre divisions between jazz improvisation, rock dynamics, and electronic textures and atmospheres. The set was mixed by Daniel Schlett (the War on Drugs) and longtime friend Chris Taylor, a member of Grizzly Bear. ~ Matt Collar