Other True Self
Label: Favored Nations
If you like: Buckethead, James Blood Ulmer, Steve Vai
Song to download: "National Anthem"
Guitarist Vernon Reid made his name as the leader of the Living Colour, a band that hurdled racial and musical stereotypes to find all-too-brief mainstream success playing an enlightened blend of metallic riffs and deep grooves.
But Reid is a guitarist with a deep arsenal of musical ideas. Other True Self, his latest album with his new band, Masque, shows Reid incorporating a daunting musical technique within a body of song that touches on everything from avant-garde jazz to reggae … and beyond.
Reid can hold his own with virtually any guitarist; his playing on "Aferika" is nothing short of mind-blowing. But flashy technique is less important to Reid than the ability to incorporate complex musical ideas into a seamless whole delivered with emotion. Reid writes most of the material, but two of the album's highlights are interpretations of songs by Tony Williams and Radiohead.
Other True Self impresses mostly in the realization that Reid is redefining the language of the modern electric guitarist - which is exciting indeed.
- Ed Bumgardner
relish staff writer