The jazz guitar has a luminous sound, in its contemporary form bubbling and commanding at once. With Fred Fried's eight-string guitar, the tone becomes somewhat deeper, the timbre richer, and the mood (by way of his training, in part) much more classical and deliberate. There are hints of the classical masters in Fried's playing, touches of a Segovia in his picking style. On a set of his own compositions, he showcases something of a fusion between contemporary jazz and the aesthetics of a more refined, less improvisatory approach. For much of the proceedings, then, Fried bends notes, carefully finds the notes he wants, and creates melodic lines that are supported by his own bass end. He even throws in a bit of jazz history now and then (such as the Coltrane-like passage of "My Favorite Things" in "Henry"). Throughout the set, Fried is backed up ably by Michael Lavoie on bass and Miki Matsuki on drums, though both tend to stay in the background, providing a stable rhythm while Fried takes the lead. It's a fine set, with very good playing all around. At times you can't help but think you've heard the tunes before, but that's perhaps a feature more of Fried's nostalgic sound than of the compositions themselves. Worth a spin for something new in jazz guitar.
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AllMusic Review by Adam Greenberg