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Phil deGruy: Just Duet

Another inspired guitar eccentric is New Orleans mad genius Phil deGruy. A protege of Lenny Breau (who played a seven-string guitar with a high A instead of the usual low B as the extra string), deGruy is a master of Breau-style false harmonics who has also taken Lenny’s notion of emulating Bill Evans-like voicings on the guitar to the extreme by adding a set of 10 tunable harp strings near his right picking hand, which he uses to extend arpeggios and enhance chordal voicings. On Just Duet (Heard Instinct), deGruy joins several esteemed guitar partners. He plays it in fairly straightahead jazz-standard mode with Larry Coryell on the lushly voiced ballad “Lenny’s From Heaven” and with Hank Mackie on “Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise.” With eight-string guitarist Charlie Hunter, deGruy turns in a groove-laden “The Nun With the Dirty Habit” and a gorgeous reading of Monk’s “Ugly Beauty.” His most radical excursions are reserved for encounters with slide guitar wiz David Tronzo (a twisted rendition of Roger Miller’s “King of the Road” as well as on several textural interludes strewn throughout the collection) and former Tin Machine guitarist Reeves Gabrels (“When I Fall in Sequence” and “Pardon Our Progress-Expect Delays”).

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