2019, Snug Harbor - Trip Advisor:
The incomparable Ellis Marsalis Quintet on Friday nights!
Snug Harbor is a great jazz club in an intimate setting on Frenchman Street featuring the great Ellis Marsalis on Friday nights. Even at age 82, Ellis still has it and was backed by 4 excellent young musicians- saxophonist Derek Douget, trumpeter Ashlin Parker, bassist Jason Stewart, and drummer Stephen Gordon. Parker in particular was incredible.
2017 CD: The Ellis Marsalis Quintet Plays Ellis Marsalis – Offbeat Magazine
Listeners expect elegance from Ellis Marsalis; it’s an element of his playing that remains a constant and is best realized here on his beautiful intro to “Orchid Blue.” It sways with Parker’s trumpet providing the “voice” of the tune.
The album musically moves to some furious hard-boppin’ on another one of Marsalis’ more often performed songs, “Zee’s Blues.” The pianist pounds it, again with his typical relaxed composure. Then “Zee’s Blues” just starts screamin’.
2015 Bermuda Jazz Festival – Royal Gazette:
The first set ended with an up-tempo 12-bar blues by Silver, which showed off the superb high legato of Parker’s trumpet. While it is a technique that goes back to the birth of jazz blues, Parker uses it to naturally punctuate the end of phrases
Next, Wayne Shorter’s 1963 One by One, which featured a brilliant vibrato trumpet solo by Parker. Unconventionally, Marsalis stopped playing altogether during the trumpet and saxophone solos. Once again, drums and bass had their solo turns.
2015 French Quarter Fest – Times Picayune:
Bassist Jason Stewart and drummer Jason Marsalis acted as a musical trampoline, vaulting saxophonist Derek Douget and trumpeter Ashlin Parker to the heights. Some of the finest frontline playing came when the two horns locked in counterpoint duets -- a modernist bow to the group improvisations and heated emotions of early New Orleans jazz.
2015 French Quarter Fest - JazzWise:
Another senior figure, the 80-year old Ellis Marsalis evaded the rain, drawing a packed crowd to Jackson Square, with a quintet performance that needed no defending on grounds of age. With drummer son Jason Marsalis always propulsive and uplifting and a soaring front-line of Ashlin Parker, trumpet, and Derek Douget, tenor and soprano, theirs was music with real bite and zest.
2015 New Orleans Jazz Fest – Jazz Times
I watched Ellis Marsalis-forgoing his usual trio sets for a fiery quintet outing featuring two powerhouses, trumpeter Ashlin Parker and saxophonist Derek Douget from just outside the Jazz Tent
2019 CD. Songs: The Music of Allen Toussaint – All About Jazz
The lively, staccato "Java," which earned trumpeter Al Hirt a Grammy Award in 1964, doesn't suffer much from his absence, thanks to unflagging work by the ensemble and Ashlin Parker's nimble trumpet solo.
2019 JazzAscona - Syncopated Times
This is a new generation of New Orleans born musicians. The sound is different, more modern but it is authentic New Orleans flowing from the same roots as their grandfathers. Their musicianship is superb, played with a passion and enjoyment that conveys itself to the audience. No, it’s not the trad jazz I grew up with but it’s great jazz.
Ashlin Parker offered a beautiful “Java” with Leon “Kid Chocolate,” Jerome Ansari, and Ed Peterson all adding their tributes.
2017 CD: New Orleans Jazz Orchestra Live at Newport – Offbeat Magazine
Trumpeter Ashlin Parker is the first to rule center stage, offering a bounty of strikingly slinky, high-flying blowing on Mayfield’s composition “Angola”
2015 Wellington Jazz Festival, New Zealand - Stuff.com.nz/entertainment
… if I thought that Irvin Mayfield alone came from that long line of New Orleans trumpet players such as Louis Armstrong, Wynton Marsalis or Kermit Ruffin then I have to tell you there are another five in the ensemble that played their socks off on St James Infirmary, it was a "cutting' session right out of Kansas City.
2015, Pittsburgh – Post-Gazette
The best tune was the stark, dark “Angola,” a movement from a suite that Mr. Mayfield had composed some time ago and a reference to a notorious Louisiana prison. The tune featured baritone saxophonist Jason Marshall and, especially, trumpeter Ashlin Parker, who was allowed to stretch out.
2015, The Jazz Market, New Orleans – Times Picayune
The composition "Angola," included in Mayfield's massive upcoming project for Basin Street Records … was inspired by the writings of Ernest Gaines. Mayfield encouraged trumpeter Ashlin Parker, a North Carolina native, to tap into the spirit of pioneering jazz cornet player Buddy Bolden, who long ago called Central City home. Parker responded with multiple fast runs that streaked into his instrument's upper register. "I think the young man from North Carolina has got the Bolden spirit in him!" Mayfield declared.
2019 New Orleans Jazz Fest – Downbeat Magazine
The second weekend focused more on elders sharing stages with younger players—courtesy of the ever-sprawling Trumpet Mafia—and kicked off with a handful of students playing the dirge section of “St. James Infirmary.” As the tune opened up, a core group of older trumpeters, including Maurice Brown, walked onstage, playing to a wave of cheers. By the time the whole diverse and flexible group was onstage, there were too many trumpeters to see, let alone count. At the center of it all was Ashlin Parker, clad in a dark, wide-brimmed hat and a green, black and gold camo T-shirt emblazoned with the name “Trumpet Mafia.” A longtime member of the Ellis Marsalis Quintet and a prolific music teacher, Parker led the group through tunes by Roy Hargrove, Lonnie Smith and others, trading off solo opportunities and making strong use of the impressive rhythm section he’d enlisted. They, too, wrapped up with a parade—though theirs featured dozens of musicians—and plenty of fist-pumping.
2019 New Orleans Jazz Fest – Offbeat Magazine
The Trumpet Mafia, like Joshua’s army of trumpeters that blew down the walls of Jericho, could not be denied. The kindly mob, headed by “Godfather” Ashlin Parker, triumphed in talent and sheer numbers with some 20 eager brass players making a joyful noise. One-time resident, the always dramatic Maurice Brown, who, like pianist/vocalist Davell Crawford, seemed to pop up all over the festival, was in the Mafia’s number. In dedication to the recently deceased trumpet giant Roy Hargrove, Parker brought in students of Hargrove’s alma mater, Dallas’ Booker T. Washington High School.
2019 New Orleans Jazz Fest – LiveForLiveJazz
Later, Mobetta teamed up with NOLA-based virtuoso trumpeter Ashlin Parker for a Roy Hargrove tribute at the exquisite jazz club, Snug Harbor. Once again this year, Maurice joined Parker’s fantastic Trumpet Mafia, which also includes Eric Benny Bloom, Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown, and Nicholas Payton. Trumpet Mafia brought a thrilling show to the Jazz Tent at the Fairgrounds, as well as at Wednesdays in the Park, a free event that draws large crowds between Jazz Fest weekends.
2019 JazzAscona Festival - Syncopated Times
One of the most exciting experiences was the “Trumpet Mafia.” The brainchild of talented N.O. trumpeter, Ashlin Parker, the project’s goal is a collective of trumpeters practicing and growing together as musicians with participation open to anyone, at all levels who want to practice and learn.
At Ascona, top level musicians joined youngsters and adults, who were just starting to play, for seven days of practice. Anyone who wanted to, could join the daily four-hour sessions. The only requirement was having a trumpet of some kind to blow. Ashlin’s passion for the concept of collective learning, with players of all levels, comes across as he patiently leads all through basic techniques. Just listening increased our own appreciation.
2018 New Orleans Jazz Fest –Gambit
Putting more than a dozen trumpet players onstage at once sounds gimmicky. Onstage, under the direction of Ashlin Parker, trumpeter for the Grammy-winning New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO), it's anything but. What began as a practice forum for Parker and his NOJO peers has evolved into a showcase for the gut-rattling wall of horns and creative arrangements of hip-hop classics, jazz standards and everything in between. The fluctuating lineup has featured stars such as Nicholas Payton and young students of more established trumpeters who perform with the band regularly. The real standout here, however, is a group dynamic that's greater than the sum of its parts.
2017 New Orleans Jazz Fest – Louisiana Weekly
By starting out with a three-man brass frontline, the Trumpet Mafia, led by Ashlin Parker, kind of fooled people into thinking that this was a good, though instrumentally ordinary, jazz band. Then a stream of trumpeters who had been waiting backstage arrived on stage blowing and got a rousing round of applause and lots of “Wows!” The total number of trumpet players was about 16 with the youngest being eight-year-old Leon Brown, the son of Leon “Kid Chocolate” Brown. They made a mighty, glorious noise.
2016 New Orleans Jazz Fest – Louisiana Weekly
Nicolas Payton was also prominently featured in the ensemble Trumpet Mafia, a group established by Ashlin Parker that totally impressed both in size – it included a dozen trumpeters – and tightness. It was terrific to hear trumpeter Maurice Brown, once a New Orleans resident, blow several solos and duos out front. The battle of the trumpeters, half on one side of the stage facing off against an equal number of horn players on the other, really capped off the show.
2015 New Orleans Jazz Fest – Offbeat Magazine
Kicking things off early with an amazing set overflowing with all star guests, the Trumpet Mafia truly took over the Jazz Tent. Ashlin Parker set the tone early by opening the band’s first ever Jazz Fest appearance with a solo rendition of the theme song from the Godfather. Of course he did. He is the leader of the city’s newest mafia family.
At the end of the set, the entire crowd jumped to its feet for a sustained standing ovation. It was a magnificent coming out party for an immensely talented band.
2016 CD: Heirs of the Crescent City by Jason Marsalis – Offbeat Magazine
From the drums’ opening cadence and the joyful exuberance of the music, it’s immediately evident that New Orleans is at the core of “Heirs of the Crescent City.”
A rendition of the Mardi Gras Indian prayer “Indian Red” truly captures the spirituality of the song, with the horns of trumpeter Ashlin Parker and saxophonist Joe Goldberg soulfully replacing the vocals.
2016 CD: Heirs of the Crescent City by Jason Marsalis – Audaud.com
The title track “Heirs Of The Crescent City” opens with a repeating piano phrase as Marsalis’ drumming sets the pace for a rollicking jaunt through the number with trumpeter Ashlin Parker leading the way and tenor saxophonist Joe Goldberg not far behind.
As this review is being written, the Mardi Gras festivities in New Orleans are coming to an end for 2016, and accordingly the Mardi Gras Indians will be cueing up their traditional chant “Indian Red” one final time. Marsalis and the band give this number a spirited reading with trumpeter Parker front and centre.
2018 CD Unbroken by Tiffany Austin – Cision
Produced by the Grammy Award-winning jazz advocate Richard Seidel and arranged by trombonist Mitch Butler, the music on "Unbroken" is impeccably executed by the rhythm section of pianist Cyrus Chestnut, bassist Rodney Whitaker, and drummer Carl Allen as well as Butler, veteran tenor saxophonist Teodross Avery, and the formidable young trumpeter Ashlin Parker.
2018 SFJAZZ Center – San Francisco Classical Voice
She followed with another original, “Greenwood,” a thematic diptych with “Blues Creole.” Rather than describing one man’s fate, the song connects the riots of Watts and Ferguson to the 1921 pogrom that wiped out Tulsa, Oklahoma’s prosperous “Negro Wall Street” neighborhood. Even more than on “Blues Creole,” Austin sets a searing tale to an irresistibly swinging, defiantly optimistic beat, punctuated with an exuberantly pungent solo by New Orleans trumpeter Ashlin Parker, full of smears, cries, and moans.