Tony MacAlpine

Tony MacAlpine Collection: The Shrapnel Years

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Along with Greg Howe, Tony MacAlpine was the only other African-American guitarist on the Shrapnel roster in the '80s. As with the other artists on the label during this era, MacAlpine was certainly "fleet-fingered on the fretboard" -- in other words, he could solo extremely fast over a heavy metal accompaniment. MacAlpine has issued albums for the label on a somewhat regular basis over the years (save for 1987-1991), and that is precisely what the 2006 compilation Tony MacAlpine Collection: The Shrapnel Years focuses on. Although some passed him off as being too influenced by Yngwie Malmsteen on his early solo releases, MacAlpine later began specializing in Joe Satriani-esque instrumentals, which is what Collection focuses on. Standouts include the title track from his 1986 solo debut, Edge of Insanity (which saw MacAlpine backed by a highly skilled rhythm section -- bassist Billy Sheehan and drummer Steve Smith), as well as a pair of tracks from his 2001 release, Chromaticity -- the title track and "Christmas Island." While MacAlpine continues to issue solo albums on his own, he can be seen nowadays as a member of Steve Vai's solo band, where -- interestingly -- he usually favors playing keyboards over the six-string.

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