Arts & Events

Mariah Parker's Indo Latin Jazz Ensemble Packs Yoshi's in Oakland

By Lynda Carson Special to the Planet
Thursday September 03, 2009 - 12:20:00 PM

On Tuesday Aug. 25, Mariah Parker's Indo Latin Jazz Ensemble packed Yoshi's in Jack London Square, and the incredible live performance had the audience roaring and screaming for more of the Indo-Latin jazz rhythms filling the celebrated jazz club during the CD release event for Mariah Parker's debut recording, Sangria.  

For her CD release concert, composer and multi-instrumentalist Mariah Parker brought together a stellar lineup of musicians including Grammy award winning woodwind virtuoso Paul McCandless (known through his work with the seminal chamber jazz groups Paul Winter Consort and Oregon), trailblazing guitarist Matthew Montfort (Ancient Future), bassist and cellist Kash Killion, (Sun Ra Arkestra, Cecil Taylor); Latin percussionist Duru Demetrius (Joe Henderson, Herbie Hancock); tabla virtuoso Debopriyo Sarkar (Kronos Quartet), and drummer/percussionist Brian Rice (Mike Marshall). 

Blending the asymmetrical meters of East India with the driving syncopations of Latin jazz to create a fresh new sound, Parker draws musical inspiration from Cuba, Brazil, India and Spain. As RJ Lanna with Zone Music Reporter put it, “If Dave Brubeck were doing something with a Latin beat, it would come out sounding like this.”  

The concert goers were so spirited and enthusiastic as the performance progressed throughout the evening, the roar of their response to Mariah Parker's compositions brought the jazz club to a feverish pitch that rocked the building to its foundation.  

"As a composer, working with such high caliber musicians is exhilarating.” Parker said. “Each one adds their own musical brilliance and cultural spice to the Indo Latin Jazz sound."  

While on stage before the performance began, guitar great Matthew Montfort warmed up the crowd by telling the audience that he will be playing a scalloped fretboard guitar and flamenco guitar once the performance began. Montfort later told me that Ervin Somogyi scalloped the fretboard on his SJ Deluxe Gibson guitar.  

Though not at the concert, world famous guitar maker Ervin Somogyi replied, "I scalloped the fretboard on Matthew's guitar years ago when John McLaughlin and Al di Meola popularized that wonderful guitar bending sound and intricate arrangements that Matthew ran with, coming up with his own great arrangements and guitar performing techniques throughout the years."  

Indeed, the thunderous applause at Yoshi's during Tuesday night's performance was a testament to the great skills of Matthew Montfort and all the other fantastic musicians on stage performing Parker’s intricate compelling compositions.  

The jazz ensemble performed ten instrumental compositions by Mariah Parker, including one composition by Matthew Montfort at the end of the concert when the exuberant crowd demanded one more piece from the musicians.  

"I went to Mariah Parker’s Sangria CD release show at Yoshi’s in August," said Jim Lynch, "and was surprised at the full-house crowd on a Tuesday night. The audience was more spirited than the usually restrained Yoshi’s audience, perhaps because the music was pure ecotopian world jazz. By that I mean that it’s a chamber world jazz sound that emanates from places like San Francisco, or Portland or Seattle and is reminiscent of groups like Oregon, Paul Winter Consort, or Paul Horn."  

"This was a fabulous show... the music was really, really hot!!" said Marguerite Rigoglioso.  

Dave Jordan and a group of friends drove all the way from Gualala to attend the concert. “They played a world-class jazz venue, turned in a world-class performance to a full house and everyone loved the music! It doesn't get any better than that.”  

Internationally acclaimed Russian-American pianist Liana Forest said afterwards, “It was an exhilarating evening. The music and everyone's performance was simply world class.” 

Sangria is available in record stores, and online at Barnes & Noble and Borders, and iTunes. For more info and to listen to tracks from Sangria, see