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Album Review

Jeff Parker: Forfolks


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Jeff Parker: Forfolks
Guitarist/composer Jeff Parker is closely associated with indie group Tortoise and Rob Mazurek's Chicago Underground and Exploding Star Orchestra projects, but the scope of his work is extensive. The Bridgeport, Connecticut native has worked in numerous genres and technologies, and with a varied range of artists including, Joshua Redman, Nicole Mitchell, Yo La Tengo, Matana Roberts, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Nels Cline, George Lewis and Fred Anderson. Parker has recorded eight albums as a leader but with the release of Suite for Max Brown (International Anthem/Nonesuch, 2020), his composing took a more personal turn. Forfolks pushes further into his process of creativity.

Forfolks is Parker's second solo guitar album, the first being Slight Freedom (Eremite, 2016). That earlier title foreshadowed his solo work to come, signaling Parker's independence as a performer; Forfolks however, fully realizes the artist's unique vision. Parker's typically spotless playing style and orderly harmonic method are supplanted at times by more ethereal qualities. The album's opening, and subsequent piece, "Off Om" and "Four Folks" are deeply rooted and rounded. His cover of Thelonious Monk's "Ugly Beauty" is infused with a hypnotic drone. Parker's eleven-minute "Excess Success" literally dances note-by-note, out of the speakers to surround the listener.

Parker, a master of special effects and sampling, leaves the technology at the door for Forfolks. In the process, less is more; his imagination focused solely on the electric guitar's range and potential. Forfolks is both warm and probing, full of deceptively resourceful ideas, inviting listeners back for a second go-round. More so than any of Parker's previous leader/co-leader work, Forfolks, a late entry in the 2021 archives, sets the guitarist/composer up as a creative force that demands greater attention.

Track Listing

Off Om; Four Folks; My Ideal; Suffolk; Flour Of Fur; Ugly Beauty; Excess Success; La Jetée.


Jeff Parker: guitar.

Album information

Title: Forfolks | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: International Anthem Recording Company

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