Half Notes: Fred Fried And Core – Core 3.0 (2010)

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by S. Victor Aaron

Fred Fried comes from the George Van Eps school of guitarists, having been taught by the late guitar great himself. That’s readily apparent from his harmonically intricate style that leads with full chordal lines while simultaneously playing the enhancing bass lines. In other words, Fred Fried fingerpicking style, like Eps, has more in common with the piano than conventional guitar. Van Eps expanded his tonal palette to meet his vision by adding a seventh string; Fried goes one better and plays an eight string acoustic for this record. Fried chose to complete his ensemble with his gigging band that has Michael Lavoie on acoustic bass and Miki Matsuki on drums. Also for Core 3.0, Fried chose to play all originals, and all are harmonically interesting: “Melody Four” has an advanced chord progression and I like how the band gradually builds it into a hard swinging jam as Fried simply slays it on his solo. The sweet waltz “Sadie” is a tune isn’t a standard but it sure seems like one, and “Leanne’s Number” is another example of Fried’s knack for memorable melodies that are more complex than they sound. Never over the top but always active, Fred Fried and Core makes an album that makes the case for the relevance and richness of acoustic guitar in modern jazz. At least, when it’s done as well as Fried does it.

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