Moving Forward Now
Review by Willard Manus

Youth is well served in MOVING FORWARD NOW, the new release by 20-year-old Chris Parker. The Indiana-based musician, composer and band leader is a prodigy who has already performed with such jazz stalwarts as Brad Goode, Greg Abate and Jamey Aebersold. Now Parker has made an impressive debut with MOVING FORWARD NOW, an aptly titled album for which he has composed five original tunes, including a jazz suite. He also plays both drums and tenor sax on this CD, with equal finesse.

Parker’s musical interests are wide-ranging: he kicks things off with a swinging version of “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” then changes things up with Rachmaninoff’s “Adagio Sostenuto” (made special by the virtuosity of Frank Glover on clarinet and Luke Gillespie on piano). Next, just to remind everyone that he can also get down and dirty, he lets things rip with such rollicking tunes as “Moving Forward” and “It’s No Secret.”

Parker wisely surrounds himself with some of the mid-west’s finest jazzmen, including guitarist Dave Stryker, saxophonists Rob Dixon and Tom Clark, and organist Steve Snyder. He also tapped Rachel Caswell to deliver the vocal goods on Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” With the youthful Parker leading the way, these pros have put together one of the most scintillating jazz albums of the year. (