Joe Parillo


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Joe Parillo has been quoted as saying, "When people ask me what kind of a musician I am, I tell them that I'm eclectic." That is an accurate statement; some of Parillo's work has been influenced by European classical music, and some of it has been influenced by pop. But at the end of the day, Parillo is a jazz improviser -- not a pop instrumentalist, not a full-time classical musician, but a jazz improviser. And even though Segments has classical overtones on occasion, it is very much a post-bop jazz album. Recorded live at the University of Rhode Island Fine Arts Recital Hall, this 2008 release is dominated by quartet playing; Parillo's trio (Parillo on acoustic piano, Bryan Rizzuto on bass, and Eric Platz on drums) becomes a quartet with the addition of special guest Jay Hoggard on vibes. Hoggard's presence is a plus, and his solos demonstrate that he understands what makes Parillo tick as a pianist; Hoggard clearly appreciates Parillo's decidedly melodic lyricism and plays accordingly. The classical overtones come into play when the quartet is joined by seven other musicians (French horn player Catherine Gagnon, oboe player Jane Murray, flutist Susan Thomas, and four string players) on a few of the selections. But however many musicians appear on a particular song, Parillo's work is consistently accessible and easy to absorb. And the influences that served him well on his 1990s recordings -- including Bill Evans, Keith Jarrett, Marian McPartland, and Dave Brubeck -- continue to serve him well on Segments, although Parillo remains a recognizable and appealing pianist in his own right. Parillo, who turned 57 on June 8, 1951, is in very good form on this solid live recording.

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