Van Dyke Parks

Pasadena , CA

Van Dyke Parks has had an extraordinary career. Starting out as a child actor before signing a record deal in the mid-’60s, Parks eventually became an in-demand session musician, arranger and songwriter. Parks became a cult legend through his work with Beach Boy Brian Wilson and it’s easy to see why Wilson was drawn to Parks’ artful approach — his solo albums were imaginatively arranged and orchestrated with an ever-present twinge of off-centeredness, but always strongly informed by the classics. Parks’ solo work has a Classical undercurrent, but he uses and molds elements of innumerable other genres into a quirky, almost avant-garde Pop sound. Parks has remained a popular collaborator, lending orchestral arrangements most recently to artists like Joanna Newsom, Danger Mouse and Silverchair. Performances by Parks have been rare, but he’s recently returned to the concert stage, playing songs from throughout his career and leaving critics sometimes confused but often impressed with his wide-canvas, endlessly creative offerings.

You’ll Dig It If You Dig: Eccentric and trippy but flawlessly executed reimaginings of Randy Newman songs, Broadway musicals, American music standards and Disney movie soundtracks. (Mike Breen)