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Trey Gunn Band: Live Encounter

The Trey Gunn Band’s Live Encounter (First World) is a guitarist’s dream group-three guitarists and one percussionist/drummer, manned by stringsmen who are savvy and skilled enough to make the lack of a bassist and keyboardist seem positively moot. This disc, the baby of King Crimson guitarist Gunn, was recorded live in late 2000 and early 2001, and it mines heavy, atmospheric, at times overwhelmingly textural territory. Playing a 10-string Warr Guitar (a tapped instrument with a radically extended range), Gunn leads his troops on hard-charging forays into ambient, world beat and fusionoid funk, with just enough odd-time indulgence and motivic gear shifting to remind you how bad they are when they want to be. See “The Glove,” for example, which transitions from airy tabla tableaux to a bottom-heavy groove. And the tapping capabilities of the Warr guitar (bandmate Jon Mendelson wields an 8-string version) opens up some unique contrapuntal possibilities, as on “Arrakis” and “Sirrah.”

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