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  • Streaming + Download

    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    Purchasable with gift card

      $15 USD  or more


  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    This 4 sided CD package comes with a wonderful 19-page booklet that features short stories and liner notes by Richard X Bennett. Album designed by Lauren Webster

    Includes unlimited streaming of PARKER PLAYS X via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
    ships out within 4 days

      $20 USD or more 


Spiritual life In the beginning, when just about everything was full stop I went to a church in Brooklyn Heights every Sunday just to be around other people. The general format was a short service (singing forbidden) followed by an inspirational and positive sermon followed by a foreboding post-Wagnerian organ piece that said, “ignore the sermon, hellfire awaits”. All that in less than an hour. Every week it was the same eleven masked people sitting in a space that could fit five hundred. We felt like the early Christians, defying death and the lions. Eventually the minister became more dispirited and disheveled and you could sense he was running out of things to say. The final straw was a sermon on vanity existing solely of cliches.. “all that glitters is not gold” (true enough), “appearances can be deceiving” (occasionally), “style over substance”… and now we have a problem. Is style really sinful? In Matthew 3:4, John the Baptist is described as being casually dressed in a “… raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins” I would wear that! Last year I was even transphobically dismissed by an “All About Jazz” reviewer for wearing “ladies' leopard-skin tights”. John the B was beheaded and my future is uncertain but we do agree on the importance of a fresh look. Once the Smith Street bars reopened I stopped going to church. Musical Notes: The bass line is inspired by Kirk Franklin. The chords on the bridge are taken from a 1897 treatise on post-romantic German harmony. It’s a circle of fifths going backwards. The overall arc of the song is taken from the Alap section of an Indian Raga. In the Agra Gharana (my lineage) you start singing in the mid-range, go down to your lowest note and eventually meander up to the highest peaks. This process takes an hour. In Style V Substance the quartet takes a much quicker path with the piano taking the low part and the sax going high. The piano sets it up and the sax knocks it down. There’s also a bar of 5/4 that starts the piece and appears occasionally throughout so if you’re clapping on the wrong beat, don’t stop and things will stylishly work themselves out.
Therapy coun·ter·trans·fer·ence | ˌkountərˌtransˈfərəns, -ˌtranz- | noun Psychoanalysis the emotional reaction of the analyst to the subject's contribution. A therapist's emotional entanglement with a client. I told my psychotherapist that I had written a long suite called “Countertransference” which was inspired by her. Laughingly she said “You wish! Maybe you should name it “The Narcissist” instead”. nar·cis·sist | ˈnärsəsəst | noun a person who has an excessive interest in or admiration of themselves Undaunted, I asked her to write some copy about this music. She answered, “Certainly not! Where’d you get that ridiculous idea?”. I said “Mingus’ therapist did it for him.” She said “So? If it’s already been done, don’t do it again.” Slightly deflated, I shortened this twenty minute saga to a succinct five minutes and fifteen seconds. My therapist disappoints me. Musical Notes: A fantasy in a three part form moving from bitter-sweet reflection through a travel canon to an emotional breakdown. The abrupt transitions from section to section mirror the jump-cuts of a noir movie. The tenor sax is the therapist, the piano the patient. Parker’s sax concludes Countertransference with an epic breakdown.
Bus 61 02:40
Fear Brooklyn’s Bus 61 runs from bougie Park Slope over the toxic Gowanus Canal through the gritty Red Hook Projects past the striving Brooklyn waterfront and ends up at the tech-meets-funky downtown. Every class of citizen rides this bus with almost no interaction between them. In 2020 the streets were empty, the rides were free, the passengers were nervous and the drivers were speeding. Now BQE construction has ground this route to a virtual halt. Musical Notes: A very short piano/drum intro is followed by a jaunty melody in three quarter time played in octaves by Armstrong and Parker, doing their jazz heritage names proud. Each chorus drops a beat at its end in order to to speed things along. This bus is in a hurry! The solos are brief as is the reprise. If the modern jazz paradigm is a Russian novel (long intros, long melodic expositions, long solos, long interludes, long digressions) Bus 61 is a paragraph at most.
Semi Vintage 05:52
Nostalgia I have two major physical scars that have mostly faded away. One is y-shaped above my left eyebrow. The seven year old me got it when I was hit by a puck at a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game. The other is a thirty stitch remnant of a high school knife fight. It’s on my forearm. My best friend did it to me. It started as a joke. In 2020 both scars reappeared and started to throb. I observed that the shut-down inspired much nostalgia for the past as everyone wanted to assert that their lives had been an idyll and the virus had ruined their beautiful world. My scars say something more complicated and ambiguous. Musical Notes: The sax is mercurial and passionate. The unaccompanied piano takes the final word and makes some metaphysical remarks. The composer has watched a lot of Barbara Stanwyck movies.
Assertion “I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world” - Walt Whitman Matt Parker’s musical career interrupted by a pandemic, he took his frustrations to the roof where he blew his sax at top volume all night. When it all became just too much for neighbors who were not ready for this much catharsis, he self-exiled to the wilds of Vermont with his family and German Shepherd. He now sounds his barbaric yawp for the wolves and the bears. Musical Notes: This song is in 5/4. Don’t count it! Just feel it!! Julian Edmond plays drum line. Just feel it!! The piano transforms the Professor Longhair Big Chief 4/4 polyrhythm. Just feel it!! The tenor sax YAWPS!!
This song is based on Psalm 30 (KJV) “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Joy Comes With The Morning lyrics by Paula Jeanine Bennett & Richard X Bennett “First sorrow Then joy comes with the morning First the endless dark Then it's a clear new day In the valley Shadows fall with challenging Yet we find our way Within the gathered dusk So don't fear the night The silent wall The slowed-down clock Your strength is here with us now yeah yeah, yeah yeah, yeah We will extol thee When joy comes with the morning in our prosperity We shall not be moved Clothe me with Gladness Set my feet to dancing we will rise above those tears in the dark So don't fear the night The silent wall The slowed-down clock Your strength is here with us now yeah yeah, yeah yeah, yeah Musical Notes: the A sections are in 4/4, the B sections are in 3/8. The melodica tells us that everything’s gonna be alright. The saxophone disagrees.
Self Improvement Some used the extra free time to work on their health. One night at 2:25 a.m, Matt Parker called me and said “I’ve done it! I stopped smoking, vaping and drinking two nights ago!” I asked him how he was feeling. He said, “ I feel great! I don’t need to sleep anymore! In fact…” and he continued his monologue for three non-stop hours. At a certain point, I began transcribing the cadences of his speech and a song was born. The next day he collapsed and was hospitalized for a week. Musical Notes: NCNCNWNS is a micro-dose of a song. At rapid tempo the piano and soprano sax play a chromatic melody. The piano takes a quick solo which is rudely interrupted by the sax as if to say, “this is my story, let me tell it”. The two instruments briefly argue followed by a snippet of the original tune.
Love Some reached to the past for human connection and even love. It didn’t work out. Two Years Later Lyrics by Paula Jeanine Bennett “just when i had thought i was free of the memory of that golden september just when i had thought you were gone you returned to disturb my heart just when i had thought it was time to abandon the past to live for the moment here you come with hope in your eyes knowing me all too well some say it’s a rainstorm some say that it’s fire some say that i’m better off you say here we are just when i had thought i was free of the sense of your touch an era behind me just when i thought love was a dream an intangible thing, you’re here” Musical Notes: The sax knocks on the door and the piano answers. A sumptuous melody is played by unaccompanied sax in the languorous Ben Webster style followed by piano in the languorous r&b style. Eventually the two meet. It’s a stormy reunion.
Belly First 03:05
Addiction and Money The piano in my apartment is by the window on the fourth floor of a Brooklyn walk-up. From my perch I can see the Blossoms Liquor store and the people who enter it day and night. There is also a half-way house a block away so there are daily regulars on the well-trod path from their building to the store, mostly people I know and some who I’m friendly with. Only one man refuses to talk to me. He thinks that if he doesn’t notice me, I won’t notice him. He walks with a pronounced swayback and large protruding stomach. He is not invisible and has inspired a nickname and song. Blossoms Liquor is owned by a couple from Fujian China who are teetotalers. Don’t ask them for wine recommendations. In March 2020 they closed the store for six weeks which caused a neighborhood panic. Fortunately they gave four days warning so for four days people with money could be seen streaming in and out of the store with cases of liquor (my personal purchase: eight bottles of vodka). The denizens of the halfway house including Belly First who lacked investment cash were not so fortunate and had to go without. Musical Notes: The piano plays a part lifted off an Andrae Crouch YouTube video. The drummer is a master of both the old and new gospel styles. The bass plays a chordal train beat followed by a lively solo, the melodica adds a Cajun tang, the sax brings the fire and the piano takes a short solo from the viewpoint of Belly First when he finds out that his voyeuristic neighbor has written a song about him.
Night Hawk 03:44
Alone sheltering at home caused us to reinterpret our relationship with the night nature thrived with the absence of vehicular traffic and could be heard at all hours many people struggled with insomnia triggered by worry, lack of exercise and addiction to the small screen some devoted hours to philosophical contemplation. you couldn’t be alone in a late-night diner but you could dine alone at home at 3:05 a.m. and many did. Musical Notes After a short drum intro, the song is played twice by a plaintive soprano sax with slight variations on the second iteration. Nothing says lonely quite like the vibraphone. rXb overdubbed his part on a 1960’s era vintage Deagan Traveller rescued from an abandoned Jersey City storage facility. The Traveller can be folded in half and thrown into the back seat of any sedan. The incessant thrum of the bass connotes insomnia. On all songs, Matt Parker’s instruction to the taciturn drummer Julian Edmond is “play something interesting and new”. That he does. Other than that, they rarely talk.
Dreams Many Americans look like Matt Parker so as we worked together over the years I would often think I was seeing him on the street. Once mask-wearing started, you couldn’t see faces so these daily hallucinations stopped and moved into my night dreams instead. matt parker shooting pool, matt parker fly-fishing, matt parker gambling, matt parker roller skating, matt park……. Musical Notes Everyman P is a jovial combination of street beat and early-jazz swagger. A street parking emergency necessitated the early departure of the bassist so rXb lowered his left hand to the bottommost depths of the eighty-eight keys and away the newly minted trio went. There is an extra beat now and again but don't let that depress you. It’s a happy addition! Even in the harshest of times, a light-hearted song can be actualized.
Sagebrush 02:43
Claustrophobia Couples, cooped up in their small apartments spent more time together than they had ever bargained for. There was nothing that had been left unsaid and even the reviving of old disputes had lost its charm. While one dreamed of being with someone else, the other dreamed of being all alone in the deserted west. Musical Notes This duo was recorded on Zoom while Parker and Bennett were preparing for the full quartet recording. The tenor sax and piano play emotionally-charged arpeggios and tremolos in their representation of coupled life. Both techniques are considered somewhat declassé in the sound world of modern music but what was old will eventually be new again. The harmonies oscillate from minor to major. Nothing is settled, uncertainty rules.


a jazz/roots song and story collection from Richard X Bennett featuring the incendiary saxophone of Matt Parker.


released May 5, 2023

Richard X Bennett - piano, melodica, vibes & compositions
Matt Parker - tenor & soprano sax, spoken word

Adam Armstrong - bass
Julian Edmond - drums

mixed and mastered by Dave Darlington
photo by Javier Oddo

Released by BYNK Records


all rights reserved



Richard X Bennett Brooklyn, New York

In NYC composer/pianist Richard X Bennett has performed at Lincoln Center Out of Doors, The Guggenheim Museum, The Rubin Museum, Brooklyn Museum & Central Park Summerstage. Internationally, his bands have played in over twenty countries. He has twelve albums on Indian, American & British labels.
"Hypnotic" - New Sounds
"unabashedly joyous, groove-centric, spiritually danceable" NYC Jazz Review
... more

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