One Of TAS' Ten Best Jazz Albums of 2020!
Though he invited in collaborators for this project, composer/multi-instrumentalist Jeff Parker is very much a solo artist on Suite For Max Brown. He constructs a digital bed of beats and samples; lays down tracks of his own on guitar, keyboards, bass, percussion, and occasionally voice; then invites musician friends to play and improvise over his melodies.
But unlike a traditional jazz session, Parker doesn't assemble a full band in the studio for a day or two of live takes. His accompanists are often working alone with Parker, reacting to what Parker has provided them, and then Parker uses those individual parts to layer and assemble into his final tracks. The process may be relatively solitary and cerebral, but the results feel like in-the-moment jams - warm-hearted, human, alive.
Suite for Max Brown brims with personality, boasting the rhythmic flow of hip hop and the soulful swing of jazz.
Named for and dedicated to his mother, Suite For Max Brown features nine original songs plus "Gnarciss", an interpretation of Joe Henderson's "Black Narcissus", and John Coltrane's "After The Rain".
Parker is known to many fans as the longtime guitarist for the Chicago-based quintet Tortoise, one of the most critically revered, sonically adventurous groups to emerge from the American indie scene of the early 1990s. The band's often hypnotic, largely instrumental sound draws freely from rock, jazz, electronic, and avant-garde music, and it has garnered a large following over the course of nearly thirty years. Aside from recording and touring with Tortoise, Parker has worked as a side man with many jazz greats, including Nonesuch labelmate Joshua Redman on his 2005 Momentum album; as a studio collaborator with other composer-musicians, including Brian Blade, Meshell Ndegeocello, and fellow International Anthem artists Makaya McCraven and Rob Mazurek; and as a solo artist.
The final number, 'Max Brown,' is a 10-minute, 36-second sound buffet and the magnum opus on an 11-song collection that clocks in under 40 minutes. It features the beat-centric melodicism of backpacker hip-hop, occasionally peeled back to showcase some arresting textures, a journey that buffs your equilibrium like a good night's sleep. Can't wait to hear how Jeff Parker tries to surprise himself next.
Jeff Parker has created a laid back mix of soul, hip hop, jazz and experimentation that does not sound quite like anything else. It has variety, unpredictability and a coolly nonchalant passion.
The veteran guitarist has created an effortlessly detailed album, full of tradition and experimentation that spans generations. It lives at the vanguard of new jazz music.
It's an album that if you take it at face value will delight, but if you stick around and penetrate its surface, you'll find one of the most transfixing albums in recent years.
- Vinyl LP
- First collaborative release of International Anthem & Nonseuch Records
- Single pocket jacket with obi strip housed in a protective plastic sleeve
|Jeff Parker||drums, vocals, piano, electric guitar, Korg MS20, bass guitar, samplers, percussion, glockenspiel, sequencer, JP-08, midi strings, pandeiro, midi programming, mbira, electric piano|
|Josh Johnson||electric piano, alto saxophone|
|Rob Mazurek||piccolo trumpet|
|Paul Bryan||bass guitar, vocals|
|Makaya McCraven||drums, sampler|
|Jay Bellerose||drums, percussion|
- Build A Nest (feat. Ruby Parker)
- C'mon Now
- Fusion Swirl
- After The Rain
- Lydian, Etc.
- Del Rio
- 3 For L
- Go Away
- Max Brown