The probable reason that pianist Horace Parlan never made a bigger name for himself is that in the middle of his career he left America to stake out a better claim and jazz career in Denmark, where he was a revered treasure. A Danish quintet (minus two) of Jesper Lundaard/b, Bob Rockwell/ts, Doug Raney/g, Henrik Gunde/p and Aage Tanggard/dr go through the fertile Parlan songbook and come up with an impressive collection of tunes to comprise a fitting tribute and tempting welcome for newcomers.
Parlan was a sideman for many artists, most notably Charles Mingus and Stanley Turrentine, so it makes sense that Rockwell’s tenor on material like the joyful “Speaking My Piece” and the gracious “Return Engagement” brings a hint of Booker Ervin and The Sugar Man with a bluesy and gospel sounding sound. Some aggressive horn blowing is addressed on ”Billy’s Bossa” and the famous bluesy “Low Down” is a real treat. A wondrous trio take of “Return Engagement features some nice bowed bass, while “Up & Down” feature some impressive pizzicato grooving. A 6 minute interview with Parlan himself is cozy and insightful as he reminisces about the old days in the Blue Note studios. A work of art on a multitude of fronts.