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Guitar Solos (1974 Classic Re-mastered)

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Album Review

Although it was originally recorded in 1974, there are pieces on Fred Frith's landmark Guitar Solos album that are probably still making guitar players scratch their heads wondering "How did he do that?" Don't expect any kind of Yngwie Malmsteen-style wankage; Frith instead uses a volume pedal, tapping, and other extended techniques to produce everything from chiming, bell-like notes to unearthly howls. It almost never sounds like standard guitar-with-plectrum playing, but the pieces have a logic (and beauty, in some cases) all their own. This is free improvised, challenging, avant-garde music, but that doesn't mean it's unapproachable. Guitar Solos' lasting legacy is that it radically redefined the way some people think about the guitar.


Born: 17 February 1949 in Heathfield, England

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In the '60s and '70s, much (if not most) contemporary improvisation was jazz-based. That began to change in the '80s, when a significant number of rock musicians began exploring the possibilities of free improvisation and new classical forms. Fred Frith is one of the more prominent. Co-founder of the underground British band Henry Cow in 1968, composer/improviser/guitarist Frith moved to the U.S. in the late '70s, where he began associations with such New York-based experimental musicians as cellist...
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