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Groovemasters Vol. 1 - Juber / Reed $15.00 $10.00

This sizzling duo with Preston Reed was the first in our Groovemasters series.
 

Groovemasters Vol.1

Laurence Juber & Preston Reed

 

 

This is an amazing CD with some of the finest guitar duo playing ever.

When a friend first played Last Train for me, I could hardly believe my ears. That was two guitars? No other instruments? I had not heard Preston Reed at that point, and since then I have looked forward to hearing this entire CD. Now that I have, I find it hard to listen to anything else - I just want to listen to this one "just one more time" to try to figure out what is going on in the different songs. This is a "desert island" CD for me!

I have come to the conclusion that I can not do justice to this particular CD with words because it is so different from what most of us consider a guitar duo, so I am including some short sound clips to illustrate my points.

Groovemasters leads off with rhythm guitar, drums, and bass - at least until you listen more closely and realize that they are all the same guitar. Folks, meet Preston Reed. His polyphonic percussive techniques give his playing a completely unique flavour that creates incredibly rich grooves that definitely qualify him as a "groovemaster". Who better to play complementary chords and contrasting melodies but that other master of the groove, Laurence Juber? Together they bring a laid back swing to this track that is as addictive as it is effective.

Commotion begins with another amazing riff. Now, if I keep this up I will run out of superlatives by the next song and you will be sick of them too, so here is a short snippet of the start of Commotion:


I just love LJ's "pipleline-esque" sliding entry! Of course, even with such an ear-grabbing start, these two musicians will morph the riff in several exciting ways before its journey finishes. I am especially fond of some of the very cool harmonies in the middle section that set off LJ's blues lead work.

Shoganai is a mellow ballad that sounds almost mainstream, with strummed chords and a lovely melody floating above. If you need convincing that these are two serious musicians with more than one style up their sleeves, this song will do it.

Hurricane is an aptly named tune. Add a generous dollop of reverb to his guitar and Preston Reed becomes a master of sci-fi FX as well. The polyphony in the initial riff is astonishing, and well worth careful listening. A silken melody enters before some enormous chords. This is a sample of what I mean:


Here we encounter a truly Dynamic Duo as they begin at the bare edge of audibility and continue to roaring peaks of a hurricane that will give your sound system, and your ears, a real workout.

Private Dick presents another side to our artists' musical personalities - the uncanny artistry of creating highly interesting and specific atmospheres. Certainly there is something of the sneaky, covert, gum-shoed world of the private detective, but there is also an elan and self-possession that both pays homage to the great detectives of the screen and is utterly independent of them. Just a great tune.

Bad Attitude is more of a funky attitude with some classic fusion elements stirred with hints of 70's jazz and topped with original playing and flair. These changes of pace make the whole CD a satisfying listening experience, and the sequencing is masterful; never too much of any one thing in a row.

Airborne is a gorgeous intertwining of two arpeggiated parts that mesh into kaleidoscopic patterns that seem to overflow into melody, or perhaps waft through the clouds, borne by a zephyr?

Ricochet takes off in several directions. Beginning with some fine two-handed slapping by Preston Reed, over which LJ enters with some fine blues lead. Reed then breaks into spirited drumming on his guitar, which eggs on LJ's lead playing. Legions of Juber fans will thrill to hear their hero fly unfettered on long solo breaks (no stingy middle eight's here!). As they both push the other to greater heights of virtuosity, this track really gets cooking.

Dirty Boy again shows this duo's mastery of musical mood and atmosphere. Take a listen and ask yourself where you are (musically speaking, of course):

 

Southern USA? Maybe in the West? Maybe on horseback? And are you smiling?

Finally, I have a theory that anyone hearing Last Train will want to buy this CD. I just find the opening so compelling, and the song so strong all the way through, that, well, I had to get the CD after hearing it. I think you will too, so here is the start:


In summary, this is a unique CD of inspired tunes, exceptional playing, and more fun than we have a right expect from a single CD. It features two incredibly gifted performers who manage to spark each other to higher levels in service of the duo. I cannot recommend this CD highly enough, and if you do not get it you are really missing out on something special!
 
Dave Walker 
 

 

 

Artist: Laurence Juber & Preston Reed
Product Type: AMR CDs
Item #: SACD505-1
Price: $15.00 $10.00
Groovemasters Vol. 1 - Juber / Reed
This product was added to our catalog on Thursday 29 September, 2005.

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