More surprising melodic passages, virtuosic performances, and overflowing sensations of musical wonder flooded over me as I set to explore Parjam Parsi’s latest collection of piano performances.
Titled The Limited Sense, the project is Parsi’s pure jazz piano project, released just less than a decade ago, in 2014. The pianist is no stranger to bizarre musical statements that can at once elating and unnerving. Using his unlimited sensibilities, his piano playing never ceased to cast spells over me on the two albums I have had the pleasure of writing about. But while his 2 previous digital release (both also re-releases of albums released physically a decade earlier) were cinematic, peppy, and generally filled with charming accessibility, his latest release takes a different approach, setting Parsi’s passion for jazz free to roam, giving us a collection of genial, yet difficult to navigate musical compositions that combine delicate and nuanced performances with a mind keen on jazz harmony and theoretical intricacies.
The project differs also in being his first one yet to not be an entirely solo affair. Featuring Jonathan Gasparian on the drums and Nathan Gasparian on the upright bass, the three childhood friends got together in Salzburg when they were kids, and together they join forces to craft a roomy and warm ballroom atmosphere that’s highlighted by Jonathan’s tight shuffles, and by Nathan’s strangely mixed upright which sounds often like eerie growls, and of course, Parsi’s immersive compositions and performances.
By design, Parjam Parsi’s latest foray is a decidedly more difficult one than its predecessors. With deep jazz harmony and open-ended melodic passages, the pieces in this collection are more demanding than his previous, cinematic, and effervescent ones. But that goes without saying that for the lovers of experimental jazz piano, in the taste of Bill Evans or Thelonius Monk, will find something of extreme musical value on The Limited Sense.