Tuesday May 24, 2011
By: Ron Burnett
James Farm is a collaborative band featuring saxophonist Joshua Redman, pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Eric Harland. On its self-titled debut album, James Farm (Nonesuch Records), the group uses the acoustic jazz quartet format in compositions by Redman, Parks and Penman.
An occasional synthesiser features on Redman’s quirkily playful Polliwog, Penman’s funky Coax and the Eastern-tinged melody of Parks’ Chronos. The Fender Rhodes piano also crops up on Chronos and Unravel, plus the occasional Hammond organ.
Redman’s saxophone is in the forceful tradition of Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, with undeniable elements from his late father, Dewey Redman.
Music on the album ranges from rock-influenced up-tempo, through to Latin American and the stately jazz waltz of Aaron Parks’ Bijou. Redman’s dreamy ballad Star Crossed is particularly effective and Parks displays influences of soul, folk and classical music in his compositions and improvisations.
This is an important example of the far-ranging musical influences in contemporary jazz and is making some waves in the jazz media.