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Skidmore College

Jazz pianist Aaron Parks due Dec. 6 at Zankel

December 3, 2013

The Skidmore Department of Music will welcome jazz pianist Aaron Parks Friday, Dec. 6, as the latest performer in the department’s Filene Concert Series. Parks will perform at 8 p.m. in the Arthur Zankel Music Center.

A forward-thinking jazz musician, Parks has appeared as a sideman for Terence Blanchard five times. Jazz Times called Parks a “child prodigy,” citing his triple-major in mathematics, computer science, and music at the University of Washington at the young age of 15. After devoting more attention to his music studies he transferred to the Manhattan School of Music at age 16. While there, he studied with noted pianist Kenny Barron and received several competitive accolades, including being named the 2001 Cole Porter Fellow of the American Pianists Association.

At the age of 18, Parks joined Blanchard’s ensemble and subsequently recorded four albums with the veteran trumpeter, including 2003’s “Bounce,” 2005’s “Flow,” the soundtrack to the 2006 Spike Lee film Inside Man, and Blanchard’s 2007 Grammy-winning opus A Tale of God's Will (A Requiem for Katrina). Besides Blanchard, Parks has performed with a variety of artists, including saxophonist Will Vinson, trumpeter Christian Scott, drummer Kendrick Scott, and vocalist Gretchen Parlato.

In 2008, Parks released his first album as a quartet leader and his Blue Note debut, “Invisible Cinema.” He signed to ECM and released his first solo album “Arborescence” this fall. “Arborescence” describes the way something grows, seeking and adaptive, like a tree – its roots and branches moving under and around things wherever they need to go toward water or toward the sun. Parks chose this title because the album’s music is the fruit of a session of solo studio improvisation in which little was predetermined; the pieces developed in the moment like “living things,” in the artist’s words. This is contemplative instrumental poetry that “often felt less like conscious intention,” he says, “and more like something half-dreamed, half-remembered.” “His melodic sense is acute and original, his narratives and harmonies varied, and his pacing subtle,” wrote John Fordham of The Guardian. 

Admission for the Dec. 6 Aaron Parks concert is free for students and children, $8 adults, and $5 seniors and Skidmore community. For advance reservations or information please click here or call the Zankel box office (518) 580-5321 for more information. The Zankel Music Center is wheelchair accessible and offers listening devices for the hearing impaired.

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