Jeff Parker : Forfolks

Jazz guitarist Jeff Parker returns with another stunning display of his guitar prowess and compositional skills with the stunning Forfolks. A solo guitar affair in which Parker builds upon looping guitar lines to make something that tows the line between solo jazz guitar and avante garde, minimalist composition.

Working once again with the amazing Chicago-based International Anthem, Jeff Parker seems to have advanced the guitar a few light years with his latest. Previous albums The New Breed and Suite For Max Brown felt like lost gems from the early 70s fusion power period, locking into the spirit of forward thinkers like Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner, and John McLaughlin. But adding both soul, funk, and an experimental spirit to the fold, Parker built his own spirited sound.

Forfolks is more intimate and experimental. Building off looping guitar lines Parker creates something more attuned to Steve Reich than Larry Coryell. It’s as much solo jazz guitar as it is minimalist classical music. Where some of that can get a bit too heady and hard to digest at times, Forfolks has an airiness to it. Jeff Parker gives us songs here to lose ourselves in. The results are nothing short of brilliant.

There are moments on Forfolks where it feels like classic jazz in the style of titans like Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, and Joe Pass. Songs like “My Ideal” and “Suffolk” lock into the romance of solo jazz guitar while still retaining a sense of musical adventure. But something like “Four Folks”, “Flour of Fur”, and “Excess Success” build roads and bridges to new musical dimensions in the world of jazz. Parker takes the classic and melds it with forward-thinking compositional skills.

Jeff Parker’s take on Thelonious Monk’s classic “Ugly Beauty” is something to behold. Monk was both unconventional and traditional, sometimes in the same song. Parker’s use of effects to add an almost psychedelic aspect to the track gives it an ethereal feel.

I feel like Jeff Parker is paving the way for new generations to become more bold, experimental, and innovative in the jazz world. Forfolks goes a long way to prove that.

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