Half Notes: Frank Butrey – Malicious Delicious (2010)

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The word “muscular” as applied to jazz guitar players brings to mind folks like Al DiMiola, Barney Kessell, Mick Goodrick, and even early George Benson. The great thing about these particular players (as opposed to artists who are rooted primarily in fusion) is that they can tease out ideas with delicacy while reserving the right to burn when necessary. On Malicious Delicious Frank Butrey, with the help of his trio, delivers a set that’s not only muscular but also stylistically quite wide-ranging.

On the lighter side of things, there’s the gorgeous extended chord solo of “Little Workshops” and the percussion-filled (thank you, Thomas Lowery), Spanish-influenced “Acoustic Afternoon.” “Toast With A Ghost” visits a reverb-enhanced sonic landscape inhabited by percussion and ringing arpeggios. For more traditional fare, look no further than the opening pair of “Boisterous Voiceterous” and “Malicious Delicious Blues,” with chorus after chorus of breathtaking interplay and unrelenting swing. And then we have the full-on guitar freakout of “This End Up.” This is where the burn is unleashed, from the sizzling chromatic runs of the opening riff to the crazy & funky bass solo taken by Clifton Kellem to Butrey’s eventual guitar explosion. This track might be more on the rock side of fusion but that can’t diminish the fun in the listening. Muscular indeed.

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Half Notes is a quick-take music feature on Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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  • Good work, Mark. There is a blues bassist, Patrick Rynn, and the first word that comes to mind when I listen to him live or on record is muscular.

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