Various Artists: Theo Parrish’s Black Jazz Signature (1971-76) 2013

sub-titled: Black Jazz Records: 1971-1976

Theo Parrish's Black Jazz Signature (1)

Track list:

01. Doug Carn – Trance Dance (Spirit of the New Land)
02. Gene Russell – My Favourite Things (Talk to my Lady)
03. The Awakening – March On (Mirage)
04. The Awakening – Convulsions (Hear, Sense and Feel)
05. The Awakening – Jupiter (Hear, Sense and Feel)
06. Calvin Keys – Criss-Cross (Shawn-Neeq)
07. Rudolph Jonson – The Highest Pleasure (The Second Coming)
08. Walter Bishop Jr. – Those Who Chant (Keeper of my Soul)
09. The Awakening – Mirage (Mirage)
10. Calvin Keys – B.E (Shawn-Neeq)
11. Rudolph Johnson – Time And Space (The Second Coming)
12. Walter Bishop Jr. – Blue Bossa (Keeper Of my Soul)

This compilation:
DJ Mix: Theo Parrish
Released: April, 2013
Label: Snow Dog Records
SDGBJ 1303

Theo Parrish's Black Jazz Signature (2)


Theo Parrish is a top-tier DJ who switches between decades and styles with unmatched fluidity.

It’s fascinating to hear him work here with a very specific and small set of albums — seven, to be exact, all of which were released during 1971-1973 on a small but substantial label run by pianist and producer Gene Russell.

Black Jazz Signature trails Gilles Peterson’s Black Jazz Radio and DJ Muro’s Diggin’ Black Jazz as a complement to Snow Dog’s thorough Black Jazz re-issue series, but there’s only one selection here — Rudolph Johnson’s “The Highest Pleasure” — that appears on those previous mixes.

Parrish works with two turntables, as he typically does, and is relatively hands-off.

He maintains continuity while shaving only a few seconds from each cut.

The set plays out like a vigorous, uptempo Black Jazz super session.

Four selections come from the two albums released by the Awakening, a group from Parrish’s hometown of Chicago.

Three consecutive Awakening cuts act as a showcase for the versatility of unheralded pianist and leader Ken Chaney (known most for his playing on Young-Holt Unlimited’s “Soulful Strut,” he passed away in late 2012), who moves from funky and complex electric piano on “March On,” to darting beneath Frank Gordon and Richard Brown’s horns on “Convulsions,” to driving the speedy “Jupiter.”

While Parrish just about eliminates himself from the equation, this mix will appeal the most to fans of his work who know the funk, disco, and house stuff well enough but haven’t traced back far enough to fully absorb an earlier, eternally vibrant form.