Premiere: Listen To Aaron Parks’ ‘Here,’ A Tune Off ‘Little Big II: Dreams Of A Mechanical Man’


Pianist Aaron Parks’ Little Big ensemble is set to issue its second full-length, Little Big II: Dreams Of A Mechanical Man, on May 8.

(Photo: Eleonora Birardi)

After two years of touring with his quartet Little Big—and a year of collaboration with artists such as drummer Terri Lyne Carrington—pianist and composer Aaron Parks returns with the release of his group’s sophomore recording, Little Big II: Dreams Of A Mechanical Man (Ropeadope). Parks, guitarist Greg Tuohey, bassist David “DJ” Ginyard and drummer Tommy Crane have found a group voice that seamlessly integrates influences from popular music, the jazz tradition, classical composition and folkloric songs.

“Here”—a track off Little Big II, which is due out May 8—debuts below.

“To me, there’s something about this song that feels deeply melancholic but also tentatively hopeful,” Parks said. “[It has] a slowly shifting perspective, looking backward and forward, yet ultimately accepting the present. It’s close to a through-composed piece in some ways, where the moments of improvisation are all serving the whole. I particularly love Greg’s brief and poetic guitar solo here, as well as DJ’s brilliantly subtle bass counterpoint and Tommy’s small stuttering variations to the central groove. On the production side of things, Chris Taylor and I came up with some ideas that added to the specific sound of this track; in particular, there’s an almost subliminal part that he played on a synth called the Octave Kitten that sounds like some kind of distant astral wind and helps to give the song a specific sense of place.”

Little Big II: Dreams Of A Mechanical Man communicates with a clarity and simplicity that belies its ultimate depth. The music continues the band’s cultivation of a musical language that marries creative improvised music to more groove-centered material—electronica, indie-rock, hip-hop and psychedelia—but without a trace of mannered fusion or any sense that the music is cobbled together from disparate styles. DB

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December 2023
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