Aaron Parks

Jazz Piano Masterclass

On October 2nd we were privileged to have a workshop from Aaron Parks - one of the leading pianists emerging from a current generation of New York-based jazz musicians. Heralded as a child prodigy, Aaron has been making a name for himself for the last 15 years performing and recording with artists such as Terence Blanchard, Gretchen Parlato, James Farm, compositions for Spike Lee films and his own project Invisible Cinema. We caught up with Aaron whist he was in Leeds, on tour with his new trio, featuring Billy Hart and Ben Street. 
 
Aaron came into LCoM to promote his Leeds gig at The Howard Assembly Room, as well as talk to the students about his musical outlook. These sessions are always interesting, opening the floor for student questions and seeing what direction the programme takes; be it practise techniques, career development, life as a touring jazz musician or as in this case,  the compositional process. 
 
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Aaron’s work, there are some real treats ahead. His music is steeped in the tradition, and you can hear the influences of Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett (and more). But what stands out, is the sense of joy and honesty; this isn’t a musician who has any preoccupation with overtly dexterous (chops out) playing, but one who’s improvisation’s invite your heart to beat along (in the space as well as the flights). 
 
This short excerpt captures a little of Aaron’s performance at LCoM as well as some great advice on writing, whether “waiting for the gift” or “inventing the rules”, not to mention his top tip for networking in the industry (via John Cage), “always be around…”. 

 

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Aaron's top tip for networking in the music industry (via John Cage); “always be around…”.

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