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Steve Gunn’s Way Out Weather, from 2014 was not only a career highlight for the artist himself, who had formerly travelled most often in more experimental and more improvisatory musical communities, but it was also an important milestone in the story of contemporary independent music of the rock and roll variety in the world at large. Unapologetically guitar-oriented, with an emphasis on finger-picking and pedal steel, country-and-folk-inflected but without being reductively so, full of reverence for the song as a form, Way Out Weather seemed, as the title suggests, both way out, as in turned on, as in certain great works past of the psychedelic period—Skip Spence, John Fahey, and Doug Sahm—but also way out, as in mapping a way out of rock and roll’s dead ends, its stylistic repetitions. It was a bit of a contemporary masterpiece, unexpected and rich.Jeff Parker
Jeff Parker (b. Bridgeport, Connecticut USA, April 4, 1967) is a guitarist and composer.
Jeff Parker is recognized as one of contemporary music’s most versatile and innovative electric guitarists and composers. With a prolific output characterized by musical ideas of angularity and logic, he works in a wide variety of mediums - from pop, rock and jazz to new music - using ideas informed by innovations and trends in both popular and experimental forms. He creates works that explore and exploit the contrary relationships between tradition and technology, improvisation and composition, and the familiar and the abstract.
An integral part of what has become known as “The Modern Chicago Sound”, he is a longtime member of the influential indie band Tortoise, and is also a founding member of Isotope 217˚ and Chicago Underground. A look at his extensive work as a collaborator and session musician offers a glimpse into Mr. Parker’s diversity. This list includes: Andrew Bird, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joshua Redman, Toumani Diabate, George Lewis, Bennie Maupin, Nicole Mitchell, Peter Erskine, Carmen Lundy, Makaya McCraven, Vijay Iyer, Yo La Tengo, Daniel Lanois, Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band, Jason Moran, Joey DeFrancesco, Nels Cline, Charles Earland, Ken Vandermark, Dave Douglas, Fred Anderson, Tom Zé, Clipping, and hundreds more. Parker has released several albums as a leader, all to critical acclaim, including: Like-Coping (2003), The Relatives (2005) Bright Light In Winter (2012), The New Breed (2016) Slight Freedom (2016) and Suite For Max Brown (2020). The New Breed and Slight Freedom were named two of the Top 10 Jazz releases of 2016 by The New York Times, and The New Breed was named the Top Jazz Album of 2016 in The London Observer. His latest release, Suite For Max Brown (2020), debuted at Number 1 on the Billboard Jazz Chart, and was included on numerous year-end Best Of lists, including WIRE Magazine, MAGNET Magazine, and The Guardian. Renowned contemporary music ensemble Dal Niente premiered Parker’s composition “Water On Glass” at 2017’s Ear Taxi Festival. Branching out into the role as record producer, he has worked with Jeremy Cunningham on The Weather Up There, and Paul Bryan on Cri$el Gems.
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