AotMC #18: July 2016Label: International Anthem Records
Jeff Parker - The New Breed LP/CD
(International Anthem Records)
w/ The Printout zine
Included The Printout #18: 12 pages with reviews and rants by Nolan Smock, Cy Stober & Chaz!
"Named after his late father's 1970s clothing store, Jeff Parker's newest compositional outing The New Breed crosses Thelonious Monk inspired jazz with J Dilla inspired sampling and mixing. Granted that it's way more of a jazz record than beat record, it's still interesting to hear the crossover in his work. The beats and samples act as an ambient bed for the session musicians to interact above, so the live instruments take the heft of the focus. At times you won't even realize you're listening to any kind of base production. Honestly, if you get easily lost in recordings like I do, you won't notice where live instruments end and production work begins – and therein rests part of the charm. Parker, who's also the guitarist for indie post-rock composers Tortoise, assembled an impressive team of players for this release: Josh Johnson (alto saxophone, flute, clarinet, Wurlitzer electric piano, Mellotron), Paul Bryan (electric bass guitar) and Jamire Williams (drums). Parker handles electric guitar, Korg MS20, Wurlitzer electric piano, Mellotron, loops and samplers, MIDI and drum programming. His daughter makes a stirring vocal appearance on the closing track as well.
“Executive Life,” the lead track, kicks in with a beautifully stumbling beat which passes to a heavy, sentimental horn line reminiscent of Duke Ellington. It's eerie and powerful. From here the tracks space out for a few numbers, touching a bit on soul jazz and space jazz with a remarkable distorted guitar / saxophone duet on the sole cover, Bobby Hutcherson's “Visions.” Sun Ra, 70s spaceout Miles Davis and a little Grant Green can all be heard, while a touch of Dilla always haunts close in the background. “Jrifted” is a swan song and carries all of his best elements on a thick groove and swirling melody. From start to finish, it's a beast and one of the only jazz records this year to rival the Kamasi Washington opus so far!" -chaz