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Gtr Oblq by Vernon Reid / Elliott Sharp / David Torn

Ah, when 3 geetar players get together.... what? Rampant fretboard self-indulgence would be what many non-guitar-heads would expect, lots of "teckneek" but little actual content. Of course, many people who have subscriptions to Guitar Player magazines would probably get warm ‘n’ runny in a big way over such a project with its promise of hot licks and melted picks. Fortunately, the triumverate that comprises GTR OBLQ manages to avoid wretched excess (which CAN have its place) of any sort and concentrate on each other and on the music as a whole. Three electric guitarists, each with their own bag of tricks, each skilled at improvisation, put ‘em on stage (Knitting Factory, NYC) without bass and/or drums and turn ‘em loose. Elliott Sharp has a chunky, thorny sound that’s inspired by Chicago blues, avant jazz and contemporary classical music. David Torn is a fusion guy with a warm, fluid tone - some of you will recall from his work with on ECM Records and in the band of drummer Bill Bruford. Vernon Reid is probably the best known of the trio, having played with R. Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society and the rock band Living Color - his main squeezes would appear to be Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Ornette Coleman. This is NOT a skronk-fest, folks, though skronk is part of it. You get the tense, King Crimson-like soundscapes of "Achrono Miles" and "Xenomorph" is a pleasant collision between Can and Funkadelic. These cats play with/off of each other with great empathy and assurance throughout - and yes, they do remember to sizzle ‘n’ soar. Guitar maniacs are urged to check this out, and skeptics of the concept of 3 guitarists with no back-up band should check it out too.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Vernon Reid / Elliott Sharp / David Torn
  • CD Title: Gtr Oblq
  • Genre: Fusion
  • Year Released: 1998
  • Record Label: Knitting Factory Records
  • Rating: Four Stars
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