Jazz guitarist Fred Fried honors pianist-composer-arranger Burt Bacharach on his new CD Core Bacharach from Tree Jazz Productions. Fried’s cover of Bacharach’s hit songs such as “Walk on By” and “The Look of Love” features new harmonic forms constructed by the drums, bass and acoustic guitar. A student of New England-based folk and blues guitar, Fried puts his own spin on Bacharach’s songs while maintaining their integrity and melodic sensibilities. Brimming with soft pop ethers, Core Bacharach honors a prolific artist who contributed greatly to the classic pop domain.
The melodic cuts landscaping “I Say a Little Prayer,” a song made popular by Dionne Warwick, are streaked in sleek guitar chords which pucker softly along the phases of “The Look of Love” kneading a meditative grazing. The fluidity of the instrumentation through “Walk on By” are gingerly melded together, and pick up the tempo in “Wives and Lovers” as Miki Matsuki’s jetting drumbeats interface with the sedate swells of the bass and strips of guitar showering tenderly over the piece.
The balladry resonance of the guitar in “Make It Easy on Yourself” evoke a lullaby stroking surging a grooving bass line which fuels “What’s New Pussycat,” a trademark tune for singer Tom Jones, as the bluesy texture of the guitar emphasizes the springy trot of the drums. The band tailors “A House is Not a Home” with a cascade of lithesome beats and guitar rotations leading into the steamy bluesy riffage of “This Guy’s in Love with You” as the drum cymbals glitter with each burst. The album traverses into the mellow and tranquilizing “Anyone Who Had a Heart” and “What the World Needs Now is Love” then courses into the lean strumming of “Alfie” pleating delicate arches along the chord progressions.
Fried’s trio does Bacharach’s songs justice on Core Bacharach with a palette that tills a bluesy folk coloring in the tracks. Inspired by the likes of Wes Montgomery, George Benson, and George Van Eps, Fred Fried has an ear for bucolic tunage. Elegantly versed, the tracks show the trio’s sensitivity to ambient tones throttled by soft rhythmic lifts and dulcet acoustics. It’s an album driven by the band’s sense of harmony and magnifies Bacharach’s sense of melody.
Fred Fried – guitar and arranger, Michael Lavoie – bass, Miki Matsuki – drums
I Say a Little Prayer, The Look of Love, Walk on By, Wives and Lovers, Make It Easy on Yourself, What’s New Pussycat?, A House is Not a Home, This Guy’s in Love with You, What the World Needs Now is Love, Anyone Who Had a Heart, Alfie