The Left End
Noted Boston-based guitarist/composer Rick Peckham steps out with this CD, his debut as a bandleader. Commingling elements of Rock, Jazz, Blues and more, Peckham is able to combine these varying facets of his music persona into an immutable whole.
Interestingly, while Peckham’s guitar tone is ostensibly electrified, often coarse and gritty like Jeff Beck or Stevie Ray Vaughn, his rhythm section of is comprised of a traditional jazz trio – Jim Black on acoustic drums (one has to specify these days) and especially Tony Scherr on acoustic bass. In utilizing this particular instrumentation, similar to French/Vietnamese guitarist Nguyen Le’s album, ‘Three Trios’, Peckham’s compositions simultaneously have a rough Rock veneer supported by a solid Jazz foundation.
Peckham by himself penned 11 of the album’s 13 tracks, which shows he is as gifted a guitarist as he is songwriter. Given his impressive track record – he attended North Texas University, was a charter member of the notorious Boston-based improvising unit, Um, and currently serves as the Assistant Chair of the Guitar Department at Berklee College of Music — that?s not too surprising. Two tunes, ‘Free 1’and ‘Free 2’ are totally improvised pieces that explore textures and tone colors more commonly heard in jazz or avant-garde. Other songs, such as the odd metered ‘353-1001’ and African-inspired ‘Real Time’ show off the band’s playing abilities as well as Peckham’s compositional aptitude. If you?re looking for a different kind of guitar-oriented fusion project, one that stretches boundaries while its roots are still imbedded in soulful soil, this is an album to dig into.