I have the greatest admiration and respect for Burt Bacharach and I love his tunes. They are, by any definition, standards and as such hold up to varying interpretations. Thus, as a jazz guitarist, composer and arranger I didn’t see the point in merely playing instrumental versions of these tunes as written minus the vocalist. In fact, it’s because of my love for these songs that I entered this project anxious to shine some of Bacharach’s work through my particular musical prism and to see what the result would be.
Thus, you’ll hear surprising harmonies and some 5/4 bars in What the World Needs Now is Love. The Look of Love features one harmonization for the solo guitar section and another when the bass and drums enter. After that the solos conform to Bacharach’s original harmony. There is a chord sequence that serves as an interlude in between sections of Wives and Lovers that obviously wasn’t on the Jack Jones hit. And What’s New Pussycat? ...well, this movie theme and huge hit for Tom Jones might seem an unlikely track to include but its melody and harmony after the chorus (Pussycat, Pussycat I’ve got flowers…) always stayed with me and this particular arrangement might provoke a few double-takes. Anyone Who Had a Heart has an unrelenting quality that I wanted to accentuate until we hit the brakes toward the end. Make It Easy on Yourself was given a simple and elegant treatment with no improvisation and, for the most part (with a nod to some of Bill Evans’ reworking) we kept A House is Not a Home as it was written. I’ve played Alfie for years but for this recording and as a solo guitar piece I’ve given it a full 8-string makeover.
Fried is amongst the most modern practitioners. By modern, I don’t mean atonal
caterwauling, but modern in the sense of approaching the instrument sans preconceptions,
intent on constantly redefining the instrument’s parameters. He is a fingerstylist par
excellence, with a light and somewhat classically derived approach to the fretboard,
tempered in no small part, by his admiration for contemporary pianists (Evans, Barron,
- Jim Fisch, Twentieth Century Guitar