Brett Garsed

Big Sky

Brett Garsed - Big Sky ©2002 Paranormal Records
1. Undoing
2. Trinity
3. Brothers
4. Drowning
5. Fu'd Fight
6. Breathe
7. Got The Horn
8. The Myth
9. Friend Or Foe
10. Big Sky

Brett Garsed is probably best known to the masses (though not necessarily by name) for his exquisite guitar work on Nelson records and for his long-standing relationship with Australian pop star John Farnham, with whom he has recorded and toured for many years. To instrumental fusion fans, however, Brett is known as a superb player with a highly individual style and several extraordinary albums under his belt, most notably his first two records with multi-finger-tapper T. J. Helmerich (Quid Pro Quo and Exempt). This album, his first as a solo artist, showcases the evolution of his playing in recent years; his legato phrasing is still jaw-dropping, but his tone is both more biting and less distorted than on his other more fusion-oriented albums, no doubt because of his use of a warm-sounding Telecaster-style guitar. Brett is remarkably accompanied by the extremely versatile and inventive Ric Fierabracci on bass and Zappa/Keneally/Workman acolyte Toss Panos on drums, who lay down muscular yet subtle and swinging rhythm tracks.

The songs on this record are more rock and blues oriented than Brett's jazzier work, with more songlike structures than traditional fusion, highly hummable and memorable melodies, slide guitar, and ever-tasteful solo breaks. This is still fairly complex music, however, with odd time signatures and mind-boggling playing from everyone involved. But what makes this album truly stand out is not so much the players' virtuosity as their sense of restraint, expressiveness and taste; there no unnecessary flash, and every note and drum beat feels perfectly appropriate. Garsed's solo playing is as inspiring and stunning as ever, with his characteristic knack for starting long legato runs and always concluding them as complete melodic statements, rather than the often meandering solo excursions heard on so many instrumental albums.

This is a highly, highly recommended album that should appeal to instrumental music fans of all stripes.

Review by Rog The Frog Billerey-Mosier

Review date: 05/2003

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