Reggie Parker - SnapShots

Reggie Parker
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Bassist Reggie Parker is probably best known to gospel musicians because he provided the bottom for gospel music royalty such as Hezekiah Walker. However, Parker, who dropped his debut album SnapShots in late 2013, slowed down on his activities in the early 2000’s.  Parker last worked with Walker in 2002, and then retired to his home to practice and to raise his three children, Kayla, Serenity and Joel, who can be heard, sing, playing instruments and rapping on the inspirational track “Hugging the Wind.”

Bassist Reggie Parker is probably best known to gospel musicians because he provided the bottom for gospel music royalty such as Hezekiah Walker. However, Parker, who dropped his debut album SnapShots in late 2013, slowed down on his activities in the early 2000’s.  Parker last worked with Walker in 2002, and then retired to his home to practice and to raise his three children, Kayla, Serenity and Joel, who can be heard, sing, playing instruments and rapping on the inspirational track “Hugging the Wind.”

Parker moved from sideman to lyricist, composer and producer of his 16-track album after a friend spoke a word of faith. He wrote two songs, “U Said” and “Hip Hop Avenue” with plans of shopping them to R&B artists such as Mary J. Blige and Keyshia Cole. Parker went into the studio and cut versions of the tune. His collaborator Cornell “Big House” Young convinced Parker to keep both tunes and use them as a launch pad for an entire album.  Parker worried that he might not be able to create an album that holds together with songs that don’t sound dated yet maintain the essential funk that was a part of his training in the gospel, R&B and jazz worlds.

And while one can’t help but wonder what someone like Blige might have done with a cut such as “U Said,” Parker’s effort holds up. If a contemporary R&B artist took the song, it likely would have had that contemporary R&B sound that leans heavily on hip-hop production techniques. Instead, Parker tapped a vocalist, Elizabeth Anne K. Pegues, who brings a touch of jazz to her R&B vocals. That provides space for Parker and keyboardist Shedrick Mitchell to drop in some instrumental improvisation, and what listeners get is something that would have been at home on a George Duke album.

SnapShots is basically a secular project that finds Parker applying his classic funk bass guitar playing up-tempo cuts such as “I’m Available” and “Diva” and the mid-tempo number “Swagger” and the deep rhythmic groove of the funky lullaby “9 Minutes to Midnight.”

Parker never forgets his gospel roots, and the album includes the inspirational “Hugging The Wind,” a track that celebrates faith through a theme that reminds listeners that faith is an invisible but real force. The song also celebrates family through the presence of his three children. Parker turns his bass to the classic spiritual “Wade In The Water” as his thumping and plucking dips that classic hymn deep in the waters of P-Funk. This track also allows Parker to celebrate faith and family with the inclusion of a portion of a sermon by his father, the late Rev. Joe. L. Parker.  Then there is the lovely ballad “So Beautiful,” which is destined to become a wedding day anthem.

Parker’s fears that SnapShots might not measure up were unjustified but helpful. The album is proof that Parker is more than a sideman. However, those fears likely propelled Parker to a higher level of artistry with the final reward going to his listeners. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 

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