The sheer physicality of Harland's kit work asserts itself on "Nemesis," a track that, while not completely unhinged, is nonetheless more insistent and driving -- made more so by Penman's inventive stretching of the time signature while maintaining a rapid yet enveloping pulse. The repetitive single-chord piano theme (which changes abruptly in places) allows for Moreno to enter quickly and solo on the melody as Parks lets his piano engage his lines a few minutes in, with an ornamental but far from florid solo. Harland's addition of skeletal, expertly articulated breaks in between the two creates part of the tune's real escalation.
Aaron Parks is a prodigy. He went to university at 14 (doubling in music and computer science), has toured with postbop stars Terence Blanchard and Kurt Rosenwinkel, and recorded with hip newcomers such as Will Vinson and Kendrick Scott (Herbie Hancock's drummer). Now he's 25, and this is his big opening proclamation. As you might anticipate, there are links to some of the sharpest piano-band practitioners on the contemporary scene, notably the ensemble and percussion sound of the Bad Plus and Robert Glasper.