Artist: Dave “Knife” Fabris (feat. Ran Blake)
Album: “Lettuce Prey”
Reviewed by Rob Ward
New York Studio of Music and Art
Guitarist Dave “Knife” Fabris’s new release “Lettuce Prey” (with cover artwork emblazoned with a head of Iceberg) could leave people unfamiliar with his music wondering if they are about to listen to a vegan audio cookbook. However, perhaps keeping people guessing about the album’s content is the point because even if one is familiar with the music of Piazzolla, Mingus, Coleman, Hendrix, Prokofiev, or Ives… any preconceived notions about how the interpretations on this disc might sound would most likely turn out to be wrong anyway.
Utilizing a formidable lineup of musicians to help him see his vision through, Fabris has delivered a well-crafted effort which unifies a triptych of styles (jazz, classical, rock), and does so in a way that is uniquely his own. Whether it’s the 20th century classical pieces that were rearranged to sound like they were originally composed by a prog rock group, the jazzing up of a rock tune, or the “out” blues interpretation of a jazz standard with longtime collaborator Ran Blake; Fabris’s voice as a guitarist and arranger is present throughout.
Depending on how adventurous you are as a listener, some pieces may jump out as highlights… and others may jump out at you like a deer in headlights. Seemingly keeping everybody in mind, the track order gracefully intertwines beautiful ballads with edgier avant-garde tunes; allowing the diversity of the music contained on the CD to flow evenly and naturally. The end result is an amalgamation of heady material which blends well together.
For an album with a green title, “Lettuce Prey” is deceptively filled with a whole lotta meat. There’s plenty of music to explore here, so for those looking for a feast… open your musical palate and dig in.
Highlights: “Sadness” (Coleman), “Angel” (Hendrix), “Down Here Below” (Lincoln), “Haitian Fight Song/Merci Bon Dieu” (Mingus/Casseus), “Michelangelo” (Piazzolla), “Nightcrawler” (Fabris), “Scythian Suite” (Prokofiev)
For more info on this artist and/or album, visit davefabris.com