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Jeff Parker – Suite For Max Brown

February 11, 2020

I was reading Pitchfork’s New Music Friday suggestions and this caught my eye:

Suite for Max Brown is a tribute to guitarist Jeff Parker’s mother, whose photograph appears on the cover. Parker recorded the album with his New Breed ensemble, which features Makaya McCraven on drums, vocals from Parker’s daughter Ruby, and others.

In his Best New Music review of the album, Steven Arroyo writes, “Suite for Max Brown is a place where a 26-second, Dilla-indebted loop of an Otis Redding sample and 10 minutes of a jazz quintet weaving around what sounds like someone stacking plastic cups can share a tracklist; each is equally meaningful.”

I gave it a listen and I am fascinated. What the hell is this?  Is it jazz, hip hop, rock, sound effects, electronic doodling, etc.? My conclusion: it is organized beautiful noise, that is, music. Sometimes, classifying music is a futile activity, I am just glad I stumbled across this gem.

This is weird and adventurous music, it is out there. It is experimental but grounded in a kind of gentleness that allows it to go down easy. If you are a fan of jazz and the kinds of things J Dilla did and Madlib still does, you may like this. Imagine if a band like Weather Report or an artist like Charles Mingus had been informed by hip hop.

My first listen had my head spinning, by my second listening, I embraced its beauty.  Louis Armstrong famously said:

There is two kinds of music, the good, and the bad. I play the good kind.

Jeff Parker plays the good kind, albeit the weird kind.


From → Music Reviews

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