Exposé Online banner

Nathan Parker Smith — Not Dark Yet
(BrklynJazzUndergrnd BJUR 048, 2014, CD)

by Henry Schneider, Published 2015-02-24

Not Dark Yet Cover artJazz is not my musical genre, so I may not be doing this new release justice but I will give it my best shot. Brooklyn-based composer and band leader Nathan Parker Smith has assembled a large ensemble for his debut release Not Dark Yet. The result is something like a marriage of big band, Miles Davis, and Robert Fripp, but without the guitar. There are reams of exploding harsh dissonance, very tight arrangements, and frequently melodic passages. The disc lasts only about 36 minutes, but over that time you experience eleven different instrumental tracks, the longest clocking in at five minutes. So there is just the right amount of time to fully explore each of Nathan’s ideas without overwhelming the listener. There is a lot of energy bubbling just below the surface on each track, as well as a myriad of rhythmic and melodic themes running in parallel. Some of the tracks have titles that perfectly capture the essence of the music, “Solace” with its quiet e-piano intro that slowly adds new elements without layering the music, “Spin” with lots of cycling drums, brass, and bass evoking a West Side Story vibe, and “Build and Destroy” with its controlled chaos. Perhaps the best track, in my opinion, is “Fog over East” that is quiet and formless for the first half and slowly develops some structure with the added horns. If this review from a non-jazz specialist sounds at all interesting, please be sure to seek out this disc.

Filed under: New releases, 2014 releases

Related artist(s): Nathan Parker Smith

Latest news

2018-01-05
Ray Thomas RIP – On Thursday, 4 January 2017, the world lost Ray Thomas, founding member of the Moody Blues. Thomas sang and played flute, and was responsible for writing a number of the band's most memorable songs. He was 76. » Read more

2017-12-22
Roswell Rudd RIP – Jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd, one of the distinctive players of his instrument in many strains of music, has died at the age of 82. With a career stretching back to the early 60s and over a hundred recordings featuring his playing, he leaves behind a substantial legacy. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. » Read more

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Free - Songs of Yesterday – The roots of popular blues based rock and roll are firmly tied to that of Free, a four piece act from the late 60s that had both singer and composer Paul Rogers and drummer Simon Kirke (later of Bad...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues