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Parker presents entertains campus with jazzy night

Father and son Gene and Ray Parker perform in Snyder Recital Hall together on Sept. 29. (Photo/McKenzie Wilson)

The Parker Presents jazz group hit the stage in Presser Hall’s Snyder Recital Hall on Sept. 28 with the accompaniment of Ohio Northern music faculty Gene Parker. The jazz event highlighted the outstanding musical abilities of each performer from their quick-fingered runs to hypnotically ardent tones, bringing the finest sounds of the big city to Ada's small-town scene.  

Snyder Recital Hall has seen world-renown musicians and singers alike, but one would be hard-pressed to find a more eclectically impressive group of performers than those in Parker Presents. Ray Parker on bass, Harry Allen on tenor sax, and George Schuller on drums form some of the biggest names in New York City’s jazz scene. Tad Weed on piano also upholds an impressive prominence in Detroit. These musicians tour, compose, and produce jazz in various parts of America and abroad throughout the year, but they congregated at Ohio Northern as a part of a temporary tour series together.

Ohio Northern’s jazz studies instructor Gene Parker also joined Parker Presents on stage to his son Ray Parker’s enjoyment. During a break of the swinging sounds, Parker's son gave recognition to him. 

“There have been generations of great writers who have all come out of his tutelage and the students of his students and so forth, so we’re all really lucky to have him here. My dad’s truly a gem and a treasure for you guys to have,” said Parker.

A round of applause from an audience of ONU students and faculty answered in agreement.

This sense of appreciation and rapport the performers had for each other inspired a night of playful sonority. In true jazz fashion, each player took their turn soloing a melody to which another would harmonize or complement. Soulful tones and sprightly raps layered on top of each other until the hall was filled with the collective responses of the saxes, bass, piano, and drums.

Without regard to a strict set list of pieces, each musician could spotlight both their proficiency in and passion for the art of jazz. Ray Parker informed the audience during a brief hiatus in the performance that instilling this same passion in them was one main reason him and Parker Presents toured to places like Ada. Maybe after their performance, ONU students will be more likely to regularly retreat back to the brassy timbres and infectious beats they experienced that night in Presser Hall.


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