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Spanish Guitar

Artist: Roger Smith
Roger Smith - Spanish Guitar CD
Label: Emanem
Regular Price: $17.95
On Sale For: $8.98 
Year: 2002
Format: CD


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Roger Smith was one of several guitarists, initially influenced by Derek Bailey, who appeared on the free improvisation scene around 1973. (Like some of the others, he actually studied with Bailey.) Although the influence was there, he found his own voice right from the start, as can be heard on his earliest recording to be published - the 1975 performance with the Three Pullovers (now available on Emanem 4038). Around that time, he became involved in some of John Stevens' larger groups, and shortly thereafter he joined the Spontaneous Music Ensemble in which he remained until Stevens' untimely death in 1994. By 1980, a solo album was overdue, so David Toop and Max Eastley recorded the guitarist at the Eastley's home. This was issued as the first LP on the London Musicians Collective label. The original album was presented as having four tracks - A, B, C & D. With hindsight, and better editing facilities, the two longer tracks can both be seen to contain several pieces, which were separated by silences, sniffs and/or tuning up. I therefore think it is better to edit these pieces accordingly, without any loss of actual music. The music on SPANISH GUITAR is very mature, with most of Smith’s unique characteristics in place. Those of you who know him from his later solo albums on Emanem - UNEXPECTED TURNS (4014), EXTENDED PLAYS (4032) and GREEN WOOD (4073) - will find some differences in his earlier playing as well as some familiar trade marks. To bring this collection up to CD length, I have added some previously unissued recordings of gigs that I made in 1992 and 1997. The first comes from an evening at Rumours (run by Elton Dean) that found Smith performing with Evan Parker and John Stevens. The three played in various combinations - Rhythms for John was the guitarist's solo contribution. The two Sin Pad excerpts were recorded in the basement of the Singapore Padang Restaurant - a venue where John Stevens organised gigs for a while. The final two Union pieces come from a venue run by Stu Butterfield. This room over a pub was excellent, except that it was overlooking a very busy road whose noise was impossible to keep out. The first chair Smith picked up had a very loud squeak, so he decided to use it, making his solo guitar just one of three sonic elements. For his second set, he plugged his guitar into a practice amplifier belonging to Steve Beresford. The resulting sound was very distorted, providing a contrast to the unamplified Spanish guitar heard elsewhere on this CD.
Roger Smith (improvised guitar solos)
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