Thursday, June 7, 2012

Ray Parker Swingin' Never Hurt Nobody 2012

While the radio add date is 06/11/12 - the street date is 07/24/12 so some folks may think I am running a tad early on this release. Given the July 4th vacation, advanced ordering including some artists offering direct purchase options long before 07/24/12 the old fashioned street date is somewhat a thing of the paste, the last link to the good old days that record labels refuse to turn loose of.

Ray Parker may well be one of the better bassists you have yet to hear about. Why? Simple. Parker is too busy in an attempt to achieve that level of perfection that a true craftsmen recognize. One of the most interesting if not spot on remarks attributed to Parker is his disdain for the use of the word "artist." According to Parker when one sets out to create a work of art the endeavor will inevitably fail as it is pretentious in its inception. While I shorten the idea to taste is subjective and tone deaf lasts forever, you feel me and I certainly appreciate and agree with the perspective with which Parker operates as he refines and even explores his craft.

Swingin' Never Hurt Nobody is the joy and embodiment of a musical conversation and the one sheet (press release) lists the joy of the hang is felt throughout each track, I subsequently obtained a slightly less hip translation from one of my smooth jazz friends who put it in terms I can dig. It swings like a beast. This recording was done quickly. All the jazz stars seemed in perfect alignment and there are those times when it simply comes down to "roll tape" and all the rehearsal goes out the window and what is left is the unabashed joy of three craftsmen. A groove you can use. The eclectic mix of tunes never gets tiresome and the vitality of the release borders on the addictive.

"Guitar Sammich/Now's The Time" is a Parker tune that magically morphs into a Charlie Parker classic. A string trio that plays bebop? Yes, and quite well! John Hart's single note articulation following a blistering solo from violinist Russell George is like hot fudge on ice cream and even lactose intolerant people like ice cream! Ray Parker does a walking bass line as a masterclass. A tremendous tune to jump start a stellar release. "The Nearness Of You" takes on the deceptive subtle air of a jazz chamber orchestra but with a musical cohesion that is rarely taught more so than felt from within. Another iconic standard "Just In Time" begins to dial the intensity back up without ever losing the enchanting organic feel to this release.

An absolute winner.As entertaining a release as you will hear and one you will come back to again and again!

Tracks: Guitar Sammich/ Now's The Time; The Best Things In Life Are Free; My Heart Belongs To Daddy; Always; The Nearness Of You; Too Close For Comfort; Zingaro; Just In Time; Goodbye.

Personnel: Russell George: violin; John Hart: guitar; Ray Parker: bass.