A modern guitar trio led by New York City guitarist Ken Silverman comes out of the gate burning with rhythmic intensity on the title track "Parallel Man." Silverman develops a motif of parallel guitar lines while a powerful rhythm sections support his development. He enters into a glistening glissando section bringing to mind sounds of sitar that build a drive so hard that his tone reminds one of a Charles Mingus solo, ready to explode. There is no doubt an appreciation for the avant-garde here as Silverman experiments with dissonant harmonies and rhythmically interesting phrasing. Immediately following this track is one that caught my eye initially, opening with a bowed bass line "Renoir" is a marriage of modern jazz sounds with hallmarks to an appreciation for country music reminiscent of the old west, a cowboy stranded in Manhattan.
The album has no lack of diversity as the next two tracks "Odyssey in Blue" and "Elbow Grease" feature an appreciation for blues and funk music respectively. Silverman's tone here is reminiscent of players like Danny Gatton, but with phrasing that recalls players such as Kenny Burrell. On "Elbow Grease" you can hear him begin to dig into the instrument deeper causing popping sounds reminiscent of slap bass guitar. Immediately following this exploration he goes back into the world of country on the track "Little Ditty." Silverman is taking his entire musical vocabulary to the maximum here. Where most jazz musicians have been known to stray or even flat around run from country music, he has no issue embracing it as another musical tradition to better shape and develops his sound. It is light and refreshing from the norms of modern jazz that seem to almost demand nothing but harmonic complexity and bebop lines that reach only fellow music students.
The final track on the album "Outer Revulsion" opens with a line that feels more angular than it does parallel. The entire melodic statement has development of a proper motif while still incorporating a very interesting treatment of dissonance that cannot be ignored, and almost screams "Look at me!" Mr. Silverman is engaging in artistic development and appears to be responding musically to the modern world in a manner that is fresh and unique to his own experience—not just as a musician, or even as a listener, but as a human being and a member of this strange and confusing world that we all coexist in. Parallel Man touches on sounds of the human condition and leaves one with the strange emptiness of "now what?" It is a record that leaves one willing to leave their studio apartment and venture out into the unknown looking for new experiences.
Odyssey in Blue
Visions Fugitives, #1
Ken Silverman: guitar
Andy O'Neil: drums