Jose Reyes

Jose Reyes

The album “Up & Down” is featured and about Horace Parlan

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Most people who are just occasional Jazz fans do not dig in deeper into the song or album they are listening to. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, the love and respect for this unique brand of music, is still ever so present. It’s much different for me though and more of a challenge/necessity because of what Jazz Con Class stands for. It’s NOT Just “All that Jazz” means that you are not going to get bombarded with a mix of different eras (Example: Hard Bop Early, Jazz Funk and Free Jazz (Mixed Together) of Jazz music at the same time. I, by no means, feel that I am some kind of Jazz expert and for a matter of fact, am learning something new everyday. I enjoy this quite a bit, this investigative work and it never fails to fascinate me more, especially the musicianship behind Jazz. The more I learn, the more I have to offer here to the Jazz Con Class listeners. And this is how I learned about Horace Parlan and how much he has contributed to Jazz. This 1961 album “Up & Down” is a great example and if you read later below (Horace Parlan biography) you would see all this man has overcome to become an established Jazz pianist. This album is a great example of how Jazz derives from the Blues. Horace Parlan has a great supporting cast behind him, Booker Ervin (Tenor Saxophone), Grant Green (Guitar), George Tucker (Bass) and Al Harewood (Drums). Check the schedule link for play times, ENJOY!

About the album:

By adding guitarist Grant Green and tenor saxophonist Booker Ervin to his standard rhythm section of bassist George Tucker and drummer Al Harewood, pianist Horace Parlan opens up his sound and brings it closer to soul-jazz on 1961’s UP & DOWN. Green’s clean, graceful style meshes well with Parlan’s relaxed technique, while Ervin’s robust tone and virile attack provides a good contrast to the laid-back groove the rhythm section lays down. Stylistically, the music is balanced between hard bop and soul-jazz, tied together by the bluesy tint in the three soloists’ playing. All of the six original compositions give the band room to stretch out–not only to show off their chops, but move the music somewhat away from generic conventions and seek new territory. In other words, UP & DOWN finds Parlan at a peak and…..Read More

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Biography of Horace Parlan:

Horace Parlan (pianist) was born on January 19, 1931 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvannia.

As a child, Parlan was stricken with polio, resulting in the partial crippling of his right hand. The handicap, though, has contributed to his development of a particularly “pungent” left-hand chord voicing style, while comping with highly rhythmic phrases with the right.

Much of pianist Horace Parlan’s distinguished jazz life has been marked by an intriguing series of ebbs and flows. At times his artistry has received the attention and praise it deserves, while at others it has been curiously overlooked and neglected. All the more interesting is that amid these sometimes unnerving shifts, Parlan has remained a model of musical consistency.

Just flip through the pages of his accomplished career – between 1952 and 1957 he worked in Washington DC with Sonny Stitt and then spent two years with Charles Mingus’ Jazz Workshop, to his stellar ‘60s recordings for Blue Note, and on to his more recent work with Archie Shepp and Danish bassist Jimmi Pederson – and you’ll undoubtedly be struck by the singularity and cohesiveness of his approach.

Unlike most musicians, who study the fundamentals of their instrument before seeking out a distinctive sound and style, Parlan was compelled to address the piano from a unique direction all along. An early childhood bout with polio left his right hand partially paralyzed, forcing Parlan to compensate by developing a personal style largely reliant on the left -not only for the usual measures of accompaniment, but also to weave melodic phrases and swinging single-note runs.

Armed with this approach, Parlan left his hometown of Pittsburgh in 1957 to try his hand in the greener jazz pastures of New York. Almost immediately, he found a place in the Mingus Jazz Workshop – where he remained until 1959, playing on such seminal recordings as Blues & Roots and Mingus’ Ah Hum.

Between 1960 and 1963, Parlan went on lead a series of potent sessions for Blue Note (thankfully reissued by Mosaic Records as The Complete Blue Note Horace Parlan Sessions) – reinforcing his soulful, rhythmically inventive style…..Learn More

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