David Frazier

Touch of Blues

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Maybe it's a bit unfair to begin a review of David Frazier's sharply realized debut A Touch of Blues (Cats Paw) by railing against yet another cover of Sting's pretty but overused "Fragile," but the simple truth is that this multifaceted guitarist doesn't need something that obvious to show us what he's made of. On the other hand, the umpteenth cover of "Europa" is positively dreamy, and gives Frazier seven minutes to modulate from sharp, crackling tones to distorted fuzziness. While his fiery duet interaction with the Hammond B-3 of Tyrone Jackson hints at a soul rich in blues history, Frazier sticks to his title concept by holding back a little too often when he could so easily let loose. As he aims for a distinctive sound, Frazier can't help but recall others who do the same type of thing. He simmers like Neal Schon, creates edgy electric melodies like Steve Laury, and, to bring another new electric guitarist into the equation, will compete neck and neck with Gil Parris in the light rock/blues realm of smooth jazz. He employs the clever, sharp/fuzzy modulation on "Spirit Dance," which finds him dancing on a shimmering B-3 bed. Jackson's piano solo on this tune, however, belies the edge that Frazier is aiming for. It's as if the guitar is being pulled back into pleasantville when it really wants to burn a bit more.

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