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Drew Paralic Jazz Composer: Press

Drew Paralic is that most unusual of things, a jazz pianist and composer who has released an album of originals played by others.  Having taken up the instrument too late, he says, to approach the mastery of deeply appreciated influences like Bill Evans and Thelonious Monk, Paralic instead decided to focus on writing and arranging music.  He authored or collaborated on each of the 12 tracks that make up Paralic’s new release Roll With It, Baby, and then assembled a pleasingly varied group of crack musicians for his Brooklyn-based sessions.  The results, presented in a trio or quartet format for all but two piano-only pieces, are a straightforward swinging reminder of how small-group jazz can work as both a danceable distraction and absorbing art.  A revolving group of players interprets the songs, with only bassist Elias Bailey and reed player Mike McGinnis as constants, and that variety adds another layer of musical complexity to the proceedings.--Nick DeRiso, AllAboutJazz.com

The album features myriad styles from the composer as he brings together Swing, Modal, and Modern Jazz, and mixes it with the blues in various combinations throughout the record’s 12 pieces.  Starting out with a Swing meets New Orleans style shuffle on the song “Steps,” Paralic showcases his love for various eras of jazz, and his penchant for mixing them together in his arrangements. -- Matt Warnock, ReviewYou.com

His arranging skills need no apology “(On the Occasion of) Wet Snow” is so melodic that I can see snow falling in the woods behind my house.  And I know something of snow. -- Brian Arsenault, The International Review of Music

Paralic turns back the clock on "Wintertime Tunes of Drew Paralic", a congenial journey to a nostalgic past where melody ruled and subtle affability was fundamental.--Doug Simpson, Audiophile Audition (Web Magazine)

"Steps" captures some Mingus, who was the next step in these matters, the guy even Bill and Theo could only marvel at, but more than once the distinctly ground-level intellectualism of Paul Desmond peeks out from around corners as well. -- Mark S. Tucker, Folk & Acoustic Music Review

(Bassist Elias) Bailey is particularly effective during “(On the Occasion of) Wet Snow,” providing a Scott LaFaro-esque shading for (David) Pearl’s trickling piano lines. When (Mike) McGinnis enters on clarinet, I could almost see frost growing into the corner of my office window panes.--Nick Deriso, referring to the version of "(On the Occasion of) Wet Snow" from WINTERTIME TUNES OF DREW PARALIC

On this CD, Paralic has fine players including: Elias Bailey on upright bass, Laura Kenyon on vocals for two tracks, "My Wintertime Sky" and "How Bill's Heart Sings". Mike McGinnis is great on tenor sax and clarinet. James Newman, Bennett Paster and David Pearl all play piano on the disc and Vinnie Sperrazza plays drums. "Steps" and "Finally 2001" are standout songs for me. -- Oscar Brooks, L.A. Examiner

DREW PARALIC/Wintertime Tunes:  A grown up that knows how to make grown up jazz, this piano man hangs back as the producer letting other similarly inclined jazzbos carry out his vision.   A shorty of a set at 25 minutes, it fills the bill nicely for those that don’t know where their fave piano lounge has vanished to. -- MIDWEST RECORD, CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher 

Listening to these first rate musicians perform with such seemingly easy skill performing tunes by Paralic that embrace blues and jazz and sentiment is a relaxing delight. Opening and closing with vocal pieces makes for a solid program. Paralic knows his way around his medium and the result is a refreshing breath of air! -- Grady Harp, Amazon.com

"There is one solo piano piece, "Steps," played by James Newman. It is a melodic tour de force that would likely have appealed to any of the Paralic piano heroes." -- Jack Goodstein, blogcritics.org

 

A very entertaining release that succeeds on numerous levels while avoiding the self indulgent pitfalls that the lesser artists seem to find and sadly fall into with ease. "My Wintertime Sky" is certainly a more Christmas oriented tune and a solid composition. "Down In Soho" is a blues infused tune that highlights the virtuoso playing and chameleon like ability that Paralic seems to be able to navigate with ease.

Refreshing, original, organic...Perhaps the three most important elements in elevating a good release from the level of average mediocrity to superior artistic skills. A disc you will probably find yourself coming back to again and again. -- Brent Black, CriticalJazz

While discussing Laura Kenyon...."she has an oaken style that recalls Rosemary Clooney..." -- Nick DeRiso, AllAboutJazz.com

Not to be confused with rambling, "Blue Passion" has a course it follows. That course being thoughtful and logical progressions which delight and excite this jazz fan. No open ends, no aimless wandering, all songs are complete within themselves. Yet as an entire experience each track enhances the previous and establishes groundwork for the next. So independently and as solo pieces, "Blue Passion" succeeds in offering some of the finest instrumental jazz available today. -- Len Rogers, Stonewall Society

Paralic begins with “Steps,” an interesting combination of drummer Vinnie Sperrazza’s polyrhythms and West Coast cool. Paralic’s work has plenty of open spaces for collaboration and, as Mike McGinnis (clarinet), Elias Bailey (bass) and then pianist Art Hirahara solo, each adds his own shades and colors to Paralic’s work. McGinnis, on clarinet this time, is particularly impressive during a final sparring session with Sperrazza, who brilliantly bashes away as McGinnis makes a series of stabbing runs.--Nick Deriso, AllAboutJazz.com

"Composer and arranger Drew Paralic employs a fine quartet to perform his Wintertime Tunes. Elias Baily plays bass with Vinnie Sperrazza on drums and Mike McGinnis playing sax and clarinet. Piano duty is handled by David Pearl with Bennett Paster and James Newman each taking the bench for one tune. Laura Kenyon sings on the opening and closing tracks framing a package that is fit for more than the chills of the season. Among the best are "Down in Soho", "Steps" and "Finally 2001". Each of these songs swings gently with a jovial spirit that will usher you through any wintertime blues." -- D. Oscar Groomes,  O's Place Jazz Magazine

The other jazz instrumentals have a similar, December-ish demeanor. The mid-tempo track “Down in Soho” has a glinting melody accentuated by McGinnis’s tempered tenor sax and Paster’s polished piano and evokes what might have happened if keyboardist Bill Evans had performed with saxophonist Paul Desmond.--Doug Simpson, Audiophile Audition (Web Magazine)

"...the talent he has gathered together for this album makes his music sparkle."--Jack Goodstein, blogcritics.org

(David) Pearl then downshifts Roll With It, Baby on Paralic’s concluding “Prelude d’Ennui,” a shattering solo lament filled with hard-won truths and frayed emotions.  It’s final, quiet reminder of how consistently intriguing Paralic’s thoughts are, even if they are coming out through someone else’s voice. -- Nick DeRiso, All AboutJazz.com

Paralic has a gift for melody that is wonderfully embellished by the musicians.  While not specifically a Christmas album, the opening track does have a Christmas theme, and the designation of the compositions as “Wintertime Tunes” pushes this highly listenable collection into the package of recordings for seasonal consideration.  CD Review: Jersey Jazz for the December issue; Review by Joe Lang 

"All in all an incredibly solid work that would find most listeners appreciating the variety and obvious attention to detail that has gone into this recording. Paralic continues to impress with variety, texture and a certain air of unpredictability that will have you reaching for this disc again and again. I enjoy going past the traditional new release in an attempt to bring to your attention that hidden gem you may have missed. This would be one of those jewels well worth the time to check out. "--Brent Black, discussing "Roll With It, Baby" in CriticalJazz.com

"let us introduce you to a newcomer to jazz! tracks from drew paralic's "too little, too late" have been included in this weeks playlist. paralic has composed and arranged tunes for this album which are reminiscent of the days of coltrane, lester young, and bill evans. my own personal interest was sparked when listening to mike capobiancos keyboard prowess as he gives a solid performance including incredible solo work. capobiancos's style of playing has great variety and moves from one feel to another with ease. he kept my attention... the only weakness in this project might be in the production...however, the content and musicality merits our listening. enjoy! " 
--Dr. Mike Methaney, radioiojazz.com, January 2004