BRIAN TARQUIN Fretworx Nu Groove Records NUG-2019-2 (2008)
Solo guitar albums are frequently hampered by a tendency to
demonstrate as wide a range of style as possible or indeed just to display an
impressive contact list.
Tarquin's album falls into the first
category, and whilst there are some standouts here for the most part
there is an air of predictability. Heavily influenced by Vai and
Satriani, Tarquin has a deft touch but - for me - this album lacks
spontaneity and the repeat-play factor.
A tribute to those who lost their lives in 9/11, all pieces are themed. '86th Street'
with Randy Coven on bass is pleasant enough and sees Tarquin slip into a
funkier groove repeated on 'Aphrodite' and 'Yorkville'.
The funkier style suits him better: tracks like 'Dionysus' , 'Tears' and
'Westside Highway' are really quite average.
Somewhat strangely for what is essentially a solo album, three bonus
tracks feature archive sessions from Vai, Santana and Tommy Bolin.
Guitarophiles may also be lured in by the
impressive guest list, with names such as Billy Sheehan, Steve Morse and
Frank Gambale, but for the most part this never catches fire. Which is
probably just as well, for partial proceeds go to 'Friends of
Firefighters' a New York charity formed after 9/11 ***½
Tarquin crops up again playing on and producing El Becko A Jeff Beck Salute (Nu Groove
Records NUG-2020-2) along with some of the musicians featured on his
I am always a bit wary of "tribute" albums,
the arrangements have to be substantially different to the original or
what is the point? You may as well just go and investigate the original.
And that is precisely the point here: few of these versions add
anything, other than demonstrating the respective musicians reverence to
Beck. An opportunity for some lesser known players to show off their
Only violinist Steve Bingham puts a new
slant on 'Scatterbrain' (as he did on the
Led Zep tribute) and
Martin Winch on the semi-acoustic 'Two Rivers'. And the mysterious POM
does a Rodrigo y Gabriela on 'You'll Never Know', but without the
The liner note suggests the justification for
this Beck re-fashioning is the sporadic output from the master himself.
This comment is rendered entirely impotent by the return of the master:
far better to check out his immaculate
Performing This Week album
than a somewhat lack-lustre second best. ***