Progressive rock and jazz collide with breathtaking urgency on Tyson Graf's new CD
(Sacramento, CA) Written by Robert Sutton. Weapon of mass destruction noun: Tyson Graf's guitar. Graf is a gunslinger of a different sort, one in the tradition of Joe Satriani and Steve Vai.
As FM radio playlists tightened in the past two decades, the rock instrumentalist became virtually extinct, choked from existence by grunge and later by emo. It's an unfortunate situation for those who appreciate guitar virtuosos, especially those with a yearning for metallic shrapnel.
On his second album Rehearsals, Graf unites his appetite for hard rock with his knife-sharp talent for jazzy improvisation. The result is an electrifying set of transcendent riffing and whiplash chord changes.
Graf opens the CD with a big bang, namely the snarling distortion of "Introspect." While its length - over seven minutes long - reflects the epic scope of progressive rock, sonically it recalls the blistering fuzz of early ‘90s alternative music like the Smashing Pumpkins. "Improvisation One" takes a different approach as Graf opts for a funkier vibe. Nevertheless, the breathtaking energy is still intact, especially in Chris Brawley's slamming drums.
Graf's collision of heavy-metal thunder and jazzy swing is perhaps best exemplified by "Improvisation Two," wherein both styles occupy their own space while still grooving together as a unit.
According to Graf, playing the guitar has become a lifelong passion, something he realized when he was in his early teens. "I was 13 when I began taking guitar lessons, and I think I sort of knew at some level that music and the guitar were going to be a lifelong journey," he explained. "I was hearing a lot of the rock music that was happening in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, and when I saw someone who lived across the street playing some of the music in front of me on the guitar, music I had only heard through CDs, that had a huge impact on me. So I then began bugging my parents to buy me an electric guitar."
And the cycle will continue when youngsters hear Rehearsals and want to strap on a guitar, too. "Creation is about the most meaningful thing you can do, especially when it inspires others," Graf said.
More Information: http://tysongraf.com