Innovative hybrid orchestra Nu Deco Ensemble and acclaimed jazz pianist Aaron Parks has shared an incredible collaboration together that brings home the joy of live music again. The EP Nu Deco Ensemble + Aaron Parks: Live from Miami is out now, along with the video of their May 2019 performance. Listeners can hear more about the collaboration on the Nu Deco Unfiltered podcast here.
Nu Deco Ensemble co-founder, composer, arranger and producer Sam Hyken – who has also collaborated with the likes of Bad Bunny, Wycelf Jean, Robert Glasper, Luke James – explains: “Jacomo and I were introduced to Aaron’s music through our keyboard player Jason Matthews and fortunate enough to meet him when he attended one of our concerts in Miami. We soon after fell in love with his music. It was inspiring to collaborate with Aaron on the orchestration of his incredible music, a process that always felt completely organic. Nu Deco was thrilled to highlight the colors and complexities of his writing and extraordinary musicianship, which in turn helped elevate our ensemble.”
Jacomo Bairos – Nu Deco Ensemble co-founder & conductor who has led orchestras including the Boston Pops, San Francisco and St. Louis Symphonies – continues: “Genius composer, pianist and profound intellect Aaron Parks elevated Nu Deco to profound and musically dynamic heights. His music is so inspired and deeply moving, drawing inspiration from Greek Mythology to Thelonius Monk. Sam Hyken’s arrangements transformed Parks’ music into poetic renderings with exhilarating performances by the musicians of Nu Deco. Aaron’s musicianship elevates anyone in its orbit and his artistry provoked us to be our best. These live performances with Aaron brought a new layer of quality to who we are and what we aspire to be.”
Aaron Parks has previously worked with veteran trumpeter Terence Blanchard – including on the soundtrack to Spike Lee’s Inside Man and Grammy-winning opus A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina) – and studied with eminent pianist Kenny Barron. He was named the 2001 Cole Porter Fellow of the American Pianists Association. Following his 2008 Blue Note debut Invisible Cinema, Parks also recorded with Christian Scott, Kendrick Scott, Ambrose Akinmusire, and Kurt Rosenwinkel, and was an integral part of the James Farm Quartet with Joshua Redman, Matt Penman, and Eric Harland — Nonesuch released their self-titled album in 2011. “Collaborating with Nu Deco Ensemble has been a true pleasure,” Aaron Parks said. “Sam Hyken took my tunes and exploded them into full technicolor with wildly creative and masterful orchestrations, Jacomo Bairos brought embodied presence and dynamic leadership to the role of conductor, and the ensemble as a whole channeled both open-hearted joy and consummate badassery in every note they played. An unforgettable experience in every way.”
Photo Courtesy: Deneka Peniston