Parallel StatesDonald Elfman at the New York City Jazz Record gave my Parallel States project a very nice review in the June 2016 Issue.

“From the first notes of this extraordinary recording, it is clear that the relationship between music and art is what inspired the project. Each of the works by pianist Matthew Fries and his sister, mixed media artist Loryn Spangler-Jones, is individual and exquisite…”

Album Review

by Donald Elfman
New York City Jazz Record (nycjazzrecord.com)

From the first notes of this extraordinary recording, it is clear that the relationship between music and art is what inspired the project. Each of the works by pianist Matthew Fries and his sister, mixed media artist Loryn Spangler-Jones, is individual and exquisite.

NYC-Jazz-RecordOn opener “Muse”, Fries starts elegantly with a chordal voicing expanded upon during the course of the tune’s development. Motifs grow and intertwine yet the central chord is ever-present. It’s a piece about the graceful expression of ideas and how they mature. Spangler-Jones took inspiration from this sense and the album’s concept first took shape. The music reflects a quiet passion for how artistic ideas grow.

The feel of “Positive Attitude” is a slow blues and is a case of the music being inspired by the art. Fries sees those blues as a powerful yet simple statement. He digs down into some truly deep feelings but they are never overwhelming. Instead the lines roll out steadily and surely. That quiet subtlety informs both the music and the art here even when the title, the ‘subject’ of the tune, seems to lead towards a narrative. “Just Keep Swimming” opens with a repeated riff suggesting the relentlessness of what?—evolution? persistence?—but thanks to the economy of the artistry what is suggested instead is space and peacefulness.

It ends up not really mattering who inspired whom or which form came first. The closing tune, the simple hymn-like “Kerrie”, tells us in a minute and a half that this recording is simply about the magic of creation.