Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Rolland Harrison - Dogtown Blues

Hear The Track Here

A brand new Soundclick name for me but hey, anyone who has a picture of Uncle Frank (Zappa) sitting on the crapper on his front page is OK by me. Rolland is, by his own admission, a jazz playin' guitar slinger which again is not something likely to put me off my dinner because I do like jazz (in some ways) and I do like to hear a nice gee-tar a-wailing on my stereo. By way of reference, Rolland obviously loves anything and everything from jazz guitarist wizard Talmage Hot Farlow (1921-1998) and cites him numerous times as a main influence. More popularly known as Tal Farlow, this man played with the greats of the jazz scene including Charlie Mingus in the Red Norvo group, a stint with Artie Shaw and of course his own Gibson branded guitars and his superlative Blue Note and Verve recordings from the mid 1950's to the late 1960's.

Swing and Bebop were the areas Tal specialised in, and although Rolland does have an enviable jazz tone going down here, there is an electric-ness (Ed: is that even a word?) about the playing that - for me anyway - kinda ruins the feel and, therefore, its authenticity. As far as playing goes, I have no concerns whatsoever, this is a man with more fingers than any human has a right to, and in some ways his playing reminded me of another great jazz guitarist Alvin Lee. Although he his more well known for his rock work with Ten Years After, I have seen Alvin playing in small jazz groups and know that he much prefers this style.

So even after the glorious wallowing I've had in a genre I don't spend anything like as much time in as I need, I still came away from Dog Town Blues abuzz with fresh longings for some more and even hauled out a couple of older Mingus track I had to keep the jaaz buzz flowing. I can't think of anyone else on Soundclick who is playing music like this, and definitely nobody who does it this well, so if you do like a bit of jazz guitar playing par excellence, Rolland Harrison would by the name to check out. While it's true that jazz has always had its small band of afficenados, and therefore this track won't be to everyone's taste, if you would like a dip in the very roots of jazz (and by definition rock too), Rolland again will get you started, he's a slick, fluid guitarist who has mastered his instrument and style with fine detail.

Well worth a listen for it's style and splendid performance.

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