Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Vernon Reid & Masque - Other True Self

Up until recently, I had neither the opportunity nor the interest to dip my hand into the frenzied and intricate goo that is the ever-evolving world of improvisation jazz guitar. So, it is with much trepidation that attempt to put guitarist Vernon Reid's art under a microscope and assess its content. I missed out on what many consider to be his early moments of triumph with the band Living Color and have no means of charting his evolution from there to his new band, Masque, in which he unapologetically takes center-stage.

However, from what I hear today the man is certainly worth a listen and some. I might be missing out on what's going on in some of the tracks as there were a few that seemed to be nothing more than a torrent of the same guitar lilts. Then again, that is perhaps the risk one runs when buying an entire album of improvisations, and the tracks where Reid really hits the mark more than make up for the weaker selections. Reid can do some amazing things acoustically, and though I can't always fit the songs' titles with the music, most of the tunes stand out with their own rambunctious theme and feel.

There's so much energy running through the entire album it almost makes you wanna knock back a gin on the rocks just to cool down. Hey, I'll be the first to admit I'm no expert, so I'll leave off having dubbed Reid and Masque's latest album one for the non-experts.

Reviewer: Alexander Rogers new pop

Reviewer's Rating: 8

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