Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fred Fried and Core, "Encore," Eight-String Guitarist Shines in New Trio Session

Fred Fried is a very accomplished guitarist, plays an eight-string nylon stringed acoustic, and gives us one of his very best outings to date on Encore (Ballet Tree). It's the second release by his trio Core, which includes Michael Lavoie on contrabass and Miki Matsuki, drums, both playing a subtle and important accompanying role.

The disk presents 67 well-balanced minutes of the Fried guitar universe, which includes eleven nicely put-together Fried-penned items and a whole lot of guitar. He has an original contemporary feel for harmonic underpinnings, some very sophisticated voicings and melodic straightforwardness in his writing-execution. As an improvising guitarist he excels in the chordal and arpeggiated style that comes in part from his quite apparent classical training (NOTE: I am NOT correct in this assumption. See Fred's illuminating comment below); but he also shows an increasingly subtle finesse on single-line runs, especially at slower tempos. There are some similarities with Ralph Towner's neo-classical guitar style and brightness of form, but only as a touching point for what Fried is up to here.

This album goes very far in giving you the Fried artistry as it stands today. And that is something to treasure. Recommended.


  1. Hello Greg,
    I want to thank for such a nice review! It means a lot seeing how it's obvious that you actually listened and put some real thought behind it. One correction- because of my style people assume I've had classical training but I haven't. Studying 6 months with George Van Eps, however, showed me the advantage (at least for me) of playing with the fingers as opposed to the pick.

    Thanks again. Hope to meet you in person some time.
    Fred Fried

  2. Hello Fred,

    Thanks for the nice words. Yes--I have been enjoying your playing since first encountering it when doing a batch of Cadence reviews. This one is especially impressive and enjoyable. Yes--I make a point of carefully listening numerous times to everything I review. It means I spend many waking hours listening, but I also think it is not fair to artists to review something without letting the music sink in. So you did NOT have classical training? George Van Eps set you on a path that allowed you to realize a full, almost pianistic wealth of notefulness then, which the best classical guitar writing can sometimes effect too. That's doubly impressive. In the end it is what one HEARS that facilitates the most musical kind of technique I guess--and your technique is always wonderfully subordinated to the music, as it should be. Anyway thanks for taking the time to respond. I too hope we can meet up sometime in the near future. I have fiddled about with a seven-string. I do wonder about that eighth! Is it tuned a fourth above the high /e/?
    All the best,

  3. Hi Grego,

    Thanks once more for the further kind words. And you're right- the eighth string is an A above the high E. I got the idea from the great classical player Paul Galbraith.
    All the best to you too,

  4. Hi again Fred,

    Ahh, that is very interesting.

    Hope your season is bright!