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Brian Tarquin: Brian Tarquin Presents… Fretworx

Fusion became the jazz f-word when guitarists decided they could phrase like horn players, though few were as capable as the likes of Jeff Beck, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, Allan Holdsworth and Scott Henderson. New York City guitarist Brian Tarquin, influenced by each, presents several like-minded guest guitarists (including some who merit comparison to those masters) on his new Fretworx CD.

Tarquin composed several of the tracks to honor those who died in the World Trade Center attacks, and a portion of the CD’s profits admirably benefits the Friends of Firefighters 9-11 Foundation. But with 18 songs crunched into a 79-minute disc, Tarquin might’ve been better served cutting some of the filler and extending the stronger compositions. Beck’s classic “Blue Wind” gets covered first to get your attention, and Tarquin, guitarist Doug Doppler, keyboardist Chris Ingram, drummer Greg Morrow and guest bassist Billy Sheehan deliver a muscular (if somewhat metal-clichéd) rendition. Australian fusion guitarist Frank Gambale guests on Tarquin’s “Spanish Harlem,” and Dixie Dregs leader Steve Morse elevates the soaring ballad “Towers.”

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