By likemindblog

Parker Grant


PARKER GRANT:  This young man, still in his teens, has the potential of becoming a great musician.  I came across his music while listening to a video of a party given in honour of Jaco Pastorius’ birthday.  And although the musicians are playing in a bar and there’s a lot of noise, I can’t help but notice the young man at the keyboards.  And I focus on his music.  He is good!  I find that even at such a young age, his sound already has his signature.  I know what I’m hearing.  So I found out who he was and I’m very proud to introduce him to you now.

Parker, thank you so much for participating in this project and answering the following questions:

 no. 1) What is music to and for you?

To me, music is one of the innumerable ways for a human being to express their feelings or ideas. The only boundary on expression is one’s own creativity and courage in the face of the unknown and unexplored. Throughout my life I have both observed and occasionally personally felt the often expressed feeling that “the best is behind us” or “all the good ideas are already taken.” I believe that this attitude has existed for a long time and will always continue to exist, and that despite it creative people will continue to express themselves in previously unthought-of of ways. To me music seems less like a progression, with artists “surpassing” other, and more like a continuing journey with many changes in direction and many high points. Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Stravinsky, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, etc. all owed debt to those before them, but also diverged from the imagined “path” that preceded them in favour of a personal direction. To call the music of Bach “better” then the music of Coltrane seems to me a ridiculous and impossible statement. The two could not be more different in terms of the sound of the final product, but both express something profound and deep about what it means to be human. All of the men I have previously listed were masters of using music to express their thoughts and emotions, and that is why they are still remembered, revered, and listened to today.

For me, music is an outlet for my emotions, a way to commune with others, and a way to explore myself and the world. I still am at the very beginning of my journey with music, but it is one of the most important parts of my lParker Grant untitledife. If I go a whole day without playing the piano I often find myself antsy or anxious. Aside from serving as a form of meditation or even prayer, music is a way for me to share my innermost self with others. I (regrettably) haven’t spent much time thinking about exactly what kind of musician I want to be, but at this moment my goal is to absorb as much as I can around me and eventually shape it into a cohesive musical “personality.” I ultimately want to be playing music that is important to me, with musicians who have sympathetic goals, ideally to an audience that draws some inspiration from it.

no. 2) What inspires you?

In two words: human achievement. The range of areas that human beings are now exploring and excelling in is amazing to me. Music is the area in which I am lucky enough to participate in the most actively, but I am also currently greatly inspired by the strength of Olympic gymnasts, the magic of films, and the brilliance of science and technology.  

And outside of human accomplishments there is the awe inspiring, boundless breadth of nature. I don’t know how directly these things tie into what I play, but ideally music would serve as a sort of distilling force that allows me to release all my enthusiasm about these and other topics back into the world.

no. 3) When you are playing for yourself, not performing, where does it take you? Where does your mind travel?

My mind wanders often when I play, and sometimes (perhaps unfortunately) I find myself mulling over things I have to accomplish during the day while practicing. Occasionally I will try to imagine a certain image or idea while I play, which can sometimes produce results that I didn’t previously think of. It seems to me that music creation at the highest level is mostly intuitive and natural, rather than relying on conscious decision making and deliberation.

n596357415_1022111_3900.jpg PARKERno. 4) Do you think music, visual art and health are related, and if so, how?

Music and visual art are different “languages” capable of expressing the same ideas, and appreciation of either, or both, can lead to a healthier mental state. Both allow a person to feel emotions somewhat artificially, and can bring feelings ranging from cleansing calm to joyous euphoria.

When I am feeling sad, art can serve as a “pick me up” or can help me release my feelings, and when I am happy it can amplify the pre-existing positive emotions. While I am sure a healthy life is possible without music or visual art, both are powerful tools that can and should be utilized daily for enjoyment, relaxation, and mental expansion.

5) How do you feel when you are playing?

On occasion when I’m playing with musicians that are listening to me (and vice versa) I achieve a state where I stop worrying and consciously thinking about the notes I’m playing and “go blank.” This feeling seems to be fairly common amongst musicians and seems similar to a meditative trance.

6)  Do you identify with your music and if so, on what level?

I think music brings out my essential humanity and my deepest passion for life, qualities that are not necessarily front and center in my day to day personality.

7) When do you do your best work or when do you feel you play your best?

As mentioned above, I have found my personal best moments tend to occur when in the company of very sympathetic musicians who are committed to the sound of the group. When the whole rhythm section (myself most importantly) gets over what they are playing as individuals it can result in a magical feeling that transcends any of the individuals involved.

8)  Does music help you connect with your “higher self” whatever that is for you?12638_361976395106_579025106_10084337_7163799_n

Music is a way for me to share my deepest feelings in an abstract manner that can be understood by everyone. I tend to not be a very serious person when I am not seated at the piano, and so it seems I utilize my playing time to be creative and express myself.

9) What is jazz for you or how do you relate to jazz?

Jazz is a vague and unclear term and grows vaguer by the minute. There is a musical tradition of improvisation beginning with Armstrong and continuing through Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and many other wonderful artists which is known as jazz, but many of these artists did not use or even detested the word jazz.

As the jazz, rock, and other popular music forms merged, this word becomes increasingly bloated. At this time I have not developed a personal style, and thus am not sure how related or unrelated to jazz it will be. I believe Duke got it right when he said there are only two types of music: good and bad.

Thank you so much for this interesting conversation.  I said it before and I’ll say it again, in the not so distant future, you will become a great musician.  I look forward to hearing and enjoying your music.  Until the next time, be blessed!


Where does your mind travel when you listen to music?

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Filed in: MUSIC • Friday, February 19th, 2010


Going “blank” as you say when you are playing music is when you’ve got your ego in check and you simply step out of your own way and let your creativity come through!

By Mylene Beauregard on February 20th, 2010 at 11:03 am

Hello Parker!
What an article! I found your answers brilliant, profound and very mature for a young musician as you seem to be! I really appreciate the way you define yourself through art, and your art through yourself… I listened to the reel posted and it’s truely an interesting search of sounds, makes me think of John Medeski’ experimentations and particular texture! Bravo mon pote! Thanks for sharing and having the courage to let us hear what you have to “say” to the world!


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My name is Michele Andree. I am an artist, I paint musicians in action. I think I’m a musician at heart, my instrument being… a brush, so I play…brush and I paint… music.
I love jazz. I call it freedom music. It promotes special values. I love intelligent people and good conversations.

Some people ask me how music relates to art. Personally I find they go hand in hand. Music is what turns me on to painting. It makes me see colours