Chicago-based guitarist Jeff Parker has cut his proverbial teeth with the Association for Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) and remains an active member of that group. His own work is very much in the spirit of the AACM's musical philosophy, but enhanced by his unique vision that draws from all sources of improvised music including but not limited to jazz. His third release as a leader, Bright Light in Winter, finds the guitarist in a lean setting with fellow Chicago Underground Orchestra members, drummer Chad Taylor and bassist Chris Lopes, blurring the distinction between composition and improvisation ...read more
[This interview updates last year's Fireside Chat with Chicago guitarist Jeff Parker.]
All About Jazz: You reunited with Scott Fields for Song Songs Song.
Jeff Parker: I first played with him on this double trio project that he had called Dénouement that came out on his label, Geode, in 1998. It was with myself and him on guitars, Jason Roebke and Hans Sturm on string basses, and Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang on drums. That was pretty cool. He has a way of composing where it is subjective in terms of the way that ...read more
Jeff Parker's second session as a leader, The Relatives, surprises by taking easygoing mainstream flavors and, stirring with spice, manages to honor the forms while tweaking them. Parker's regular rhythm section, Chris Lopes on bass and NY-Chicago drum machine Chad Taylor on percussion, keep the momentum crisp. Parker's earnest and deliberate delivery plays off space, often adding the right pinch of Grant Green.
Frothy wah-wahed chords yawn through Taylor's brushed cymbals on Istanbul. Parker winds a wiry line around the atmospheric accompaniment. Sam Barsheshet revisits his days in a Herbie Hancock cover band on Parker's Mannerisms. His splashy electric piano ...read more
Although we are told that first impressions are usually correct (the go with your gut" approach), the liner notes for this release nearly derailed my enjoyment of the music. The notes, such as they are, were written by Fields and consist of a stream-of-consciousness collection of words and phrases in a postmodern style full of in-jokes and self-references, but also a lot of information if you stay with them (including a somewhat snide reference to Kali Fasteau , who does not even know Fields). Some of them are funny, even witty, and Fields actually makes a mistake ("Hendrix's flat nines" ...read more
When the most striking thing about an album is the packaging, you know you're in trouble. Music, at its best, should draw on a broad palette of colours, rather than being something that is starkly black and white, with nary the slightest shading of grey. Guitarists Jeff Parker and Kevin Drumm team up with percussionist Michael Zerang for Out Trios Volume Two , an album where the greatest variation in colour, for the most part, is found on the cover of the disc. And that's just not a great place to start.
Free music can be highly evocative. Atavistic's recent ...read more
It is not always necessary to classify things. Sure, it makes it easy for the consumer in all of us to be able to find or relate to something if it is referred to as a four letter word, jazz," blues," or rock," but does that mean Elvis, the proposed king" of rock, has anything remotely to do with the Velvet Underground, also found under the rock" section? And following such logic, does 'The Godfather' (found under dramas) have anything to do with 'The Pianist,' also a drama? So to say that Jeff Parker plays prog-rock" or is avant-garde" because ...read more
Guitarist Jeff Parker presents what, for lack of a better term, is the new ‘Midwest cool.’ On his first release as a leader (besides the hard to find Vega on the French label Marge), he plays with an authenticity that could be mistaken for intellectualism.
His brand of enlightened swing has strengthened the recordings of bands such as Tortoise, Isotope 217, Tricolor, Aesop Quartet, and the various incarnations of the Chicago Underground. Cognizant of the jazz guitar tradition, Parker neither opts for playing licks nor settling for that tradition. In the setting he has found himself, he ...read more