This week’s installment of the free Local Live concert series features Chris Parker and Kelley Hurt! Presented by the Oxford American magazine with support from sponsor Landers FIAT of Benton, Local Live showcases the best of local and regional music talent. Call ahead to make your reservations at South on Main to ensure a table.
A native of Arkansas, Chris Parker’s first training came from a line of great Southern pianists, including Charles Thomas, James Williams, Gene Rush, Robert Talley, Art Porter Sr., Bob Steele, Lee Tomboulian, and Michael Bates. Though his training was primarily in jazz, his teachers always included the study of classical music. In 1991, Chris moved to Memphis to work on his undergraduate degree in jazz performance at the University of Memphis. There he continued his studies with teachers from both the school and from the surrounding region, including Eugene Rush, Daniel Fletcher, Sam Viviano, Herman Green, Fred Ford, Calvin Newborn, Bill Mobley, Alvin Fielder, Kidd Jordan, and Vernel Fournier. Chris also lived in New York City for several years where he studied under masters like Benny Powell, Chris Anderson, Walter Perkins, Barry Harris, Sonelius Smith, Harold Ousley, Warren Smith, and Bill Fielder. In 2008, he received a Masters degree in Jazz from the U of M. During this degree he also studied with Victor Asuncion (classical piano) and Jack Cooper (jazz comp./arr.).
Chris has worked all over the United States, particularly in NYC and the Southeastern region. He has also performed in Brazil, France, Portugal, Austria, and Germany. Artists that Chris has worked with include: Delfeayo Marsalis, Harold Ousley, Benny Powell, Art Jenkins, Kidd Jordan, Alvin Fielder, Bob Stewart, Frank Lowe, Warren Smith, Wendell Harrison, Frank Lacy, John Stubblefield, Kiane Zawadi, Herman Green, Calvin Newborn, J.R. Mitchell, George Braithe, Fred Ford, Bill Mobley, and Jimmy Vass. In more informal situations, Chris has worked with Rashid Ali, Frank Gant, Sonny Simmons, Frank Foster, and others.
Kelley Hurt’s musical accomplishments include winning the Phillips Award for Best New Artist from the Memphis chapter of the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. She was a lead vocalist for the band DDT—a jazz fusion and funk band featuring Luther and Cody Dickinson, Paul Taylor, Jim Spake, and Chris Parker.
In addition, Kelley has worked with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, recording the song “Could Woulda Shoulda” which was produced by Jim Dickinson at Phillips Recording Service. She has toured Italy with the Memphis Blues Revue and has also performed internationally with Bruce Willis and the Accelerators.
The rich musical legacy of Memphis has had a big influence on Kelley but she also listened to such national performers as Shirley Horne, Diane Reeves and Cassandra Wilson. Kelley writes her own lyrics, sings the melody, and then adds the chords. On Raindance she wrote “The Art of Love and War”, “I Can Come To You”, “Black Widow”, and “How Can I Let You Go”.