Jason Parra & The X Factor - Two Reasons


Most readers will know trumpet player like Herb Alpert, Rick Braun, Chris Botti, Randy Brecker, Gene Harris, Billy Cobham, Tom Browne, Hugh Masekela or Mark Isham. But there are a lot more talented artists playing this fascinating instrument. I mention Michael Fair, Barry Danielian, Bal, Gordon James, Dominic Glover, Ken Ross, Ron Haynes, Lin Rountree, Brad Upton,  Skip Martin, Jimmy Wilson and more. Jason Parra is another one who definitely should be on your buying list. His debut album "Two Reasons shows up his very accessible music. 

"Playing jazz can be so clinical and stuffy if you let it, just the nature of following changes will hinder most players. Start with vamps or blues and let your mind control your horn. This can be said for all instruments, including your voice. We have been expressing ourselves with sound and language from our first scream in the hospital to arguing with a club owner. What comes out of our mouths is almost thoughtless----it just flows; try to speak with your instrument, no thought, no analyzing just let it flow and that’s when something magical can happen", comments Jason.

The album starts with the title track Two Reasons on which Jason plays a clear sounding nicely structured trumpet. Typical drum programming replaces natural drums which makes the piece radio-like and unobtrusive. One can compare Jason's style with Ken Ross ("Soul Ballet").

On Aguamala Jason performs a muted trumpet. Wayne and Jason’s “X’s” were attacked by baby jellyfish in Mexico , giving the name to the song “Aguamala”---Bad Water. The leading melody is hypnotically repetitive. I also like the originally unique sounding keyboards and the funky attitude of the rhythm guitar. 

Wish You Where Here is an example for good arrangement. Jason overdubbs several trumpet layers to a great orchestral horn section. Sounds perfectly.

A blowing funky Twisted has elements of funk, nu-jazz and more. A pushing bass and Jason excellent muted trumpet make this groovy piece to a first highlight of this album.

X-Factor is the name of Jason's group and of the next tune. When I used the term funk for previous tracks, then I should use the term phunk for this phat dark piece. "There is something intangible about the groove of a funk piece that just does it for me. Every song can have a groove, but when the bass and drums are locked in on a funk groove it seeps right into your body—I don’t care who you are, or what style you like, a phunky groove will infect you." That's right!

But Jason also know to flirt with women. His Mellow Traumatic is unbeatable smooth and elegant.

On I Got To Feel Myself the groove is really flowing. Jason Parra, Kent Persons and Darin Stubbs are playing the sequences like balls in a soccer game. I also appreciate the drum engagement of Nathan Keezer.

On some tracks like for example the midtempo Can't You See the mood is darker provoked by using the muted trumpet. On every listen one discovers new facets. 

The use of funky wah-wah-guitars is an important style element on Never Look Back. Slowly starting the tempo increases to a fuliminant crescendo.

Didn't See It Coming is a presenting a convincing combination of horn section and synth sound. I love this Fender Rhodes sound.

What Goes Around is a tune which deserves the label contemporary jazz. 

Jason Parra 's album "Two Reasons" has certainly more than just two reasons to buy it. It offers a big bunch of diverse styles for a broad audience. This fact will make the album popular.