Have you heard? Paragon - Kin
Paragon enters the studio knowing they do not have much time. “I think just about everything we did that day was in 2 takes or less. We did not have the luxury of 4 days in a studio, we just had to go in there and do it”, says Connor Kent, the group’s drummer. On February 19th, Paragon recorded their 8-track debut release, Kin.
Meet Paragon, the chordless trio from Manhattan. Consisting of Daniel Dickenson, Emiliano Lasansky, and Connor Kent, this jazz trio is a little different than what you have listened to before. “Without a chordal instrument, like piano or guitar, the tunes that we write have to be orchestrated uniquely to our ensemble, and leaves a lot of room when the time for improvisation comes”, says Lasansky. The trio came together when Daniel was booking gigs in Manhattan, and he realized that some colleagues he had worked with in the past were both moving to New York. Kent goes on, saying “ Dan had been in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program with Emiliano, and in the Disney All American College Band with myself. So seeing that we were all going to be in the same scene, he reached out to us about forming a group.”
Paragon’s debut album, is appropriately called Kin; the name of the record is largely inspired by their relationship with New York City and what it means to be a young jazz musician there. The album was initially going to be a much smaller release, like a hobby EP, but that changed quite quickly. Kent goes on to explain, “ Emiliano had brought in a tune called Cosmos Scapes No.2, and so of course we ask ‘well, where’s Cosmos Scapes No.1?’. A pretty logical question turns into Emiliano telling us his grandfather was a painter, and created a series of paintings called Cosmos Scapes. We came to the conclusion of aurually recreating these paintings and making an EP out of it.” Soon after, Producer Nick Finzer asked Connor if he had any projects he was working on, and the concept took off. There are a lot of different things going on within the realm of Kin, ranging from swinging post-bop, all the way out to free and meditative soundscapes. Track 5, titled “Free Interlude”, is exactly that. Kent elaborates, “on the way to the studio, I kinda turned around and mentioned the guys if we had just a bit extra time, to just freely improvise, and if we like it enough, we could put it on the album. I think we came in a little bit after our lunch break, did not talk anything about it, except which key Daniel and Emiliano wanted to head to, and we just took off.”
As small and as unorthodox an ensemble this is, each member of the group has a different approach to writing for it. Dickenson prefers “Harmonic Freedom, to express some ideas that would have otherwise been hampered by a chordal instrument.”, while Lasansky prefers a more straight forward approach, “...I feel like some of my compositions are lead sheet style, and some are through composed.” In eight tracks Paragon manages to cover a lot of bases, with inspirations ranging from Joshua Redman, Kenny Garett, and Mark Turner. Kin releases through Outside in Music on June 29th.