Laurence Juber & Preston Reed
This is an amazing CD with some of the finest guitar duo playing ever.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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?
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.
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:
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