The Next Generation of Jazz
Aaron Parks interviewed by Matt Kassel
nextbob.com
October
22, 2010

with Gretchen it’s easy, you can play anything really, and she’s going to be there and deal with it and figure out a way to sing something herself that makes everything sound good …she’s really an improvising musician. She’s an improviser and is as ready to get up into complete uncertainty and let things sound bad and isn’t worried about it. ...it’s rare... it’s one of the things that makes her, you know, in a way, one of the most important musicians right now.

AP: And then I play with Gretchen Parlato. I’m playing a couple of gigs with her in London and in Amsterdam.

MK: You have recorded with her, have you not?

AP: Yeah, I have.

MK: How do you like accompanying a singer?

AP: It’s a real challenge, you know, but with Gretchen it’s easy, you can play anything really, and she’s going to be there and deal with it and figure out a way to sing something herself that makes everything sound good.

MK: Is it more her responding to you?

AP: And all of us talking to each other, but she really…rather than having a way that she wants to do things, and we need to do things a certain way in order to accommodate, she’s really an improvising musician. She’s an improviser and is as ready to get up into complete uncertainty and let things sound bad and isn’t worried about it.

MK: That’s good.

AP: It is good, and it’s rare.

MK: Sounds like an honorable quality.

AP: It is indeed. Yeah, it’s one of the things that makes her, you know, in a way, one of the most important musicians right now. Even aside from what notes she sings, and even her aesthetic, just the fact that she can get up there and lead a band and let things happen. That’s such a rare thing to find these days, you know, because there’s a lot of control that bandleaders sometimes like to have. And they feel like they need to create a certain statement and deliver it in one way or another. Maybe I’m projecting…[laughs]…I don’t know. I really like Gretchen’s approach.

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