Bird is the Worm

By: Dave Sumner

Matt Parker – “Worlds Put Together”There is something positively exuberant about Worlds Put Together, the debut album by Matt Parker. It’s the kind of thing that, as spectacle, one can’t help but smile while witnessing it. The effusive boisterousness is heaped on in large portions, and just when it seems like the train will jump the tracks, the floor drops away and leaves behind a skittering piano solo or a harmonic interlude… all before the cacophony returns at full tilt. This is the drama of the theater, playing out one scene at a time.

Your album personnel: Matt Parker (tenor & soprano sax), Reggie Quinerly (drums), Alan Hampton (bass), Jesse Elder (piano), Julio Monterrey (alto sax), Josh Mease (guitar), and guests: Mikkel Hess (drums), Jimmy “Taps” Sutherland (tap dance), and Zeynep, Noah, Bora, Ezra, Charney, Sharon, Shana Bromberg (vocals on one track).

The “Eye of Rico” opens the album with the skronking of saxophones, piano that leaps off a cliff, and a rhythm section that treats percussion like a wall built to crash through.

“I Can’t Help It” is a conversational aside, a tangential discussion carried out by Parker’s sax and Mease’s guitar. Elder makes an entrance on piano, and steers the song to a cheerful conclusion.

The tone does a full reverse on third track “Lists,” which has an ominous presence played out as a moody piece. Quinerly’s drums sulk and crash in equal measure as the saxophones of Parker and Monterrey hum nervously.

“WPT” and “New Bossa” return to the album’s boisterous persona of the first act, but whereas the the former track can barely contain itself, the latter proceeds with a resolute patience.

“Up and Down” is a chorus line raging on amphetamines that gets swept up in the tornado that is “Alien Baby,” a song that begins with fury and ends with brooding. This leads to the one cover, that of “Darn That Dream,” a song that Parker recalls from his time performing with the Maynard Ferguson Big Bop Nouveau Band. Parker’s rendition has a low center of gravity, but a high dispersion rate. This differs from the up-tempo “Full Sun,” a song that hustles straight ahead, with melody riding on the shoulders of Hampton’s bass and Quinerly’s drums.

The album ends with, first, with the whimsical “Zeynep’s Piano,” a song with the cheerful celebratory nature of a spiritual jazz tune, with a sing-song melody, the rattle of percussion, and a children’s chorus. The finale is “New Bossa (Reprise),” a (slightly) pared-down version of the album’s fifth track. It gives the sense of the band walking off stage, still playing their instruments, and marching right out of the theater.

Released on BYNK Records, which appears to be Parker’s own label.

Jazz from the Brooklyn scene.

The cool album cover designed by Lauren Webster.