Song Songs Song
Chicago Guitarist Jeff Parker’s ascent has been as smooth and deft as his playing. He works ably in multiple contexts, not only in Tortoise and the various Chicago Underground line-ups but also as a sideman, backing Fred Anderson and other Chicago notables. His duo partner on this disc, guitarist Scott Fields, is somewhat less known, but that says nothing about the quality of his work.
There’s a clear division of labour, and an obvious aesthetic divergence, on Song Songs Song. Four of the disc’s six tracks are credited to Fields, and titled like works of visual art — “Untitled, 2001, Soot On Slate”; “Untitled, 1955, Crayon On Kellogg’s Corn Flakes Box”; “Untitled, 1968, Bing Cherry Juice, KY Jelly, Ketchup On Vellum”; “Untitled, 2004, Dried Blood On Gauze, Elastic Strip With Adhesive Backing”. These are more abstract, and difficult, that the opening “LK 92” and closing “The Fields Of Cologne”, both composed by Parker.
This is not to suggest that Parker is uneasy in noise/improv territory. Though he may jazz things up more frequently than his partner, he’s fearless through the disc’s 63 minutes. Indeed, his lyricism seizes the day at more than one point, making Fields’s more obstreperous gestures feel like stunts. This is particularly true during “Untitled, 1968 …”, which occasionally sounds like Parker and Fields have been replaced by Joe Morris and Orthrelm’s Mick Barr. Still, this CD isn’t a mismatch, rather a fascinating conversation between two equally talented, but philosophically distinct compatriots. — The Wire