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Relatives


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Audio CD, January 25, 2005
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 25, 2005)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Thrill Jockey
  • ASIN: B0006B6AO8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #457,736 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Istanbul
2. Mannerisms
3. Sea Change
4. When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You
5. Beanstalk
6. The Relative
7. Toy Boat
8. Rang

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Troy Collins on January 25, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Principally known as lead guitarist for seminal post-rock group Tortoise, Jeff Parker's jazz pedigree is by now common knowledge among fans of the genre. Although he holds membership in a number of key Chicago based Jazz ensembles, "The Relatives" is only Parker's second recording date as leader. Following 2003's "Like-Coping," this new wrinkle in Parker's take on modern electro-acoustic jazz is even better than his debut.

Where "Like-Coping" was an equitable mix of austerely melodic fare crossed with avant noise explorations, "The Relatives" is a more cohesive effort. Boasting a bounty of memorable tunes, it swaps the previous record's more outre' tendencies for a more melodic approach. Other than an entirely unexpected but intensely cool distorted, bowed bass solo at the intro to the final cut "Rang," there is relatively little in the way of dissonance on this session. Catchy song-oriented tunes predominate and the entire band shares writing duties.

The line-up is similar to Parker's previous trio outing, with Chad Taylor on drums, Chris Lopez on bass and newcomer Sam Barsheshet on Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer electric pianos. It is on these highly distinctive analog keyboards that the quartet gains its signature sound. Although the band has all the key elements in place for a post-1970's Fusion outing, they rarely sound derivatively retro. Only on Parker's "Mannerisms" do they invoke that much hallowed genre. Imagine 1960's era Blue Note guitarist Grant Green's ebullient fretboard stylings woven into a double timed variation on Miles Davis' classic "In A Silent Way." Catchy doesn't begin to do it justice. Danceable perhaps. An old Isotope 217 tune even appears in the form of "The Relative," utterly distinctive with it's sinuous bassline, tricky counterpoint and tempo shifts.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Peppino on February 9, 2005
Format: Audio CD
What makes Jeff Parkermusics so appealing to me, a chapa who has listened to "almost" every great jazz guitar recording from Brasil, Europe, and USA ever recorded to LP/CD format,(as Jaco Pastorius say, "no brag, just fact"!).. I am 48 years old, and listening for a LONG time!), is that Jeffparker pursues the wonderfully righteous "path" that makes his career so far as a performing /recording musician most listenable.

The decision , IMO, jeffparker does not emulate the great jazz guitar masters of the past, we have their recordings avaliable to us.

He is influenced by them,you can hear this, but not trapped to repeat the ideas, timbres, frasings from those who have already communicated their musical visions. He forges his own distinct identity .

No need for that manner repetition, so jeffparker makes option to forge his own individual frasing, compositional concepts, and best of all, he needs not play that blistering "64th notes" blizzard of scale-derived "note-i-ness" that so many of the new generation of musics-schooled jazz guitaristics are "guilty" of too often.

A contemplative musician then, but this does not indicate he is boring , or in that ECM mode (no complaints on ECM, just to advise he does NOT sound like Terje Rypdal, HAHA!),

I find he is adventurous in the same mode as the great Grant Green, or the enigmatic Sonny Greenwich. Idea over technique.

His ideas sometime seem to overwhelm his technique, and it is a pleasure to hear him reach for what he "wants to say". (This is not to say he lacks for technique, in fact, he usually frases in more clipped call-response lines rather than the long fluid eighth note "post-Wes" style, with more pause/reflection in his musical gestures.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mike Newmark on January 19, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Any blame for the post-rock movement deliquescing into an overly intellectual jazz puddle should be laid directly at guitarist Jeff Parker's feet. He was, after all, the man most responsible for turning Tortoise into what was essentially a post-cool-jazz band on "TNT," unwittingly inviting about 20 million additional jazz tortoises to follow suit. Thing is, the Tortoise guys were actually great jazzbos, especially Parker, whose tasteful guitar work brought relative warmth and accessibility to a band that once concerned itself with frigid austerity. It was to no one's great surprise, then, that Parker became a full-time jazzman following Tortoise's imminent demise, surrounding himself with Chicago's finest in jazz and avant-garde alike. By some distance "The Relatives" is Parker's most lively and listenable recording under his own name, as though he gave the most melodic moments of his first album, "Like-Coping," a much-needed shot in the arm. He and his band members work together to attain a goal of refinement (no Gene Krupa drum solos here, thank you very much), and they're so in sync with each other it's as though they can read the others' thoughts. Thank God, too, that they nailed the tunes; the most memorable of them is "Mannerisms," a funky 1970s R&B holiday for guitar and Rhodes piano. While so many of my CDs have gone stale at one time or another, "The Relatives" has yet to flag after dozens upon dozens of spins.
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By twangmon on February 10, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Known for adding restless and unexpected 6-string sounds to Tortoise, Isotope 217, and Chicago Underground Orchestra, Jeff Parker plays jazz like someone raised on dub, hip hop, and experimental music. On The Relatives, Parker's woody tone is refreshingly unprocessed, and his stark, angular lines provide a welcome alternative to the carefully manicured guitar timbres that too often characterize fusion, faux world music, and smooth jazz. The album's tunes have elaborate melodic and harmonic structures - this isn't free jazz - but Parker and his three bandmates are never tied to a click track or a rigid arrangement. Collectively improvised around spirited changes and riffs, the music is loose and fluid, yet tinged with a brooding, slightly manic energy. Like espresso or bittersweet chocolate, Parker's playing is bold and uncompromising, yet ultimately satisfying. Engineered by John McEntire (Tortoise, the Sea and Cake, Stereolab, Trans Am) at the fabled Soma Electronic Music Studios, The Relatives has an open, dynamic sound.
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