Known to many as a guitarist for Chicago post-rock innovators Tortoise, Jeff Parker is a highly versatile musician, arranger, composer, and producer who has been a cornerstone of the city's jazz and experimental music scenes since the early '90s.
His relaxed yet precise guitar playing easily adapts to numerous styles of music and configurations of musicians, ranging from post-bop improvisations to experimental electronic music to indie rock.
A guitarist since youth, he studied at the Berklee College of Music before relocating to Chicago in 1991. He became an associate member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians in 1995 and played guitar with jazz artists such as Ernest Dawkins, Ted Sirota, and Pat Mallinger. Later in the decade, he co-founded electro-jazz fusion group Isotope 217 and Chicago Underground Orchestra, both including Rob Mazurek. Parker joined Tortoise in time for their acclaimed 1998 album TNT, which was one of their most jazz-oriented releases.
Parker relocated to Los Angeles in 2013. In 2015, he and Mazurek recorded Some Jellyfish Live Forever, which was issued by French label Rogue Art. The label also released Gain, the debut album by hip-hop/jazz group Illtet, which featured Parker along with Mike Ladd, High Priest (Antipop Consortium), and Tyshawn Sorey. Parker expanded on his hip-hop influence and interest in sampling techniques with his 2016 solo album The New Breed, released by International Anthem. Later in the year, Parker released solo LP Slight Freedom on the Eremite label; the album included a cover of Frank Ocean's "Super Rich Kids." In 2018, he paired with saxophonist Kjetil Møster, bassist Joshua Abrams, and drummer John Herndon for Ran Do. ~ Paul Simpson, Rovi