CD REVIEW: Rick Parma - Piece of Heaven
by: Cyrus Rhodes
"Parma brings the mojo"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
Label: Spectra Records
Genre: Smooth Jazz, R&B, Funk
Sounds Like: Boney James, Euge White, Dave Koz, Richard Elliot, Kirk Whalum, Michael Lington
Technical Grade: 8/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 8/10
Weakness: Winded Songs, Short Sided CD, Cover Art
Born and raised in Chicago and now lives in Southern California. Rick Parma has always wanted to capture an audience with passion for music since he was 8 years old. At the age of 14 he was given his first tool to make that happen when he picked up the saxophone. Nearly twenty years later, he has developed his voice as his second tool to continue his lifelong dream. His live activity brought him under the spotlight of some of the most renowned clubs and live venues and events in the area, including shows at Spaghettini, The Whiskey A Go Go, and appearances at the legendary Newport Beach Jazz Fest, just to name a few. His third release to date is entitled “Piece of Heaven” released in 2013.
The CD kicks gets off the ground nicely with "Besame Caliente” hard hitting smooth flowing intro piece that serves up slamming Horns section meshed against slamming bass lines, effective harmonies and soulful melody from Parma. Track 2 “Flyin’ High” keeps things moving in the right direction with intoxicating groove, steady flowing rhythm, well placed guitar chops painted against a hooky chorus making for an impressive follow-up statement. Track 3 “Hey Girl” dishes out another impressive jazzy-groove statement that serves up rock steady rhythm, impressive and impr4essive vocals and lyrical content from PArma that flows and ebbs its way through to motional fruition. The CD makes a great first impression dashing out 3 amazing songs in a row. The musicianship of everyone involved. I would classify this music as classic Smooth Jazz, Funk, R&B and even brief touches of Jam Band. Music is reminiscent of classic Boney James, Euge White, Dave Koz, Richard Elliot, Kirk Whalum, Michael Lington. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with things like impressive Saxophone, horn section, piano, impressive rhythm guitar, well placed keyboards, strings, piano layered everywhere all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm section. What I like the most about this band is how well they seem to groove together, testament to hundreds of hours of writing and rehearsal time no doubt. Now turning our attention over to Parma as for his Saxophone playing abilities he’s extremely talented. His playing goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively with a timber that is simply infectious. I might add Parma can sing – as he takes some impressive vocal risks indicating to me a confident vocal ability on several tracks. All songs are extremely well crafted and consistent across the board - world class songwriting. This latest CD from Rick Parma delivers 10 solid tracks all providing musical enjoyment filled with strong musical variety and diversity. The music of Rick Parma has everything you would expect from a world class musical production. From heartfelt “I Want it All” to smooth as silk “Love’s Serenade” to my personal favorite “Passion” to the grooving title track this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 10 “Treasure” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.
I don’t like the sweeping moog/bass track on “Flyin’ High.” All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. CD is a bit short with just 10 Tracks in all, including an instrumental version of Track 3 “Hey Girl.” Perhaps 3-5 more tracks are needed to make this a fully loaded release. CD cover art is a bit lacking – it looks like a simple digital photograph with a logo slapped on it.
From start to finish Piece of Heaven by Rick Parma is an amazing collection of music. The songwriting – the gold standard, all consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really weak piece on this entire catalog. The writing and playing abilities of Parma and his band are rock solid. The melodies and harmonies are well crafted, and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with good old fashioned no holds barred R&B-Smooth Jazz swagger. Parma canhold his own as a singer as well within this style of music. At the end of the day Rick Parma brings the mojo and is clearly a marquee talent based out of Chicago. One would be wise to keep a watchful eye on him over the years to come - as he becomes even more famous.