Tuesday, Feb 11, 2020 10 PM


Snug Harbor
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626 Frenchmen Street, New Orleans, LA
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Another inspiring guitar eccentric of New Orleans' mad genius, Phil deGruy is one of those guys that truly occupy their own unique space within the guitarcraft continuum. For starters, he plays the Guitarp, an instrument custom-built by Bay Area super-luthier Ralph Novak that's basically a fanned-fret 7-string guitar with ten additional strings tuned to the upper register of a harp. And the extra strings aren't just ornamental or "sympathetic" strings-he plays them like a harpist would, fingerpicking chords, melodies, and even pinching-off harmonics. A protege of Lenny Breau (who played a seven-string guitar with a high A instead of the usual low B as the extra string), deGruy is a master of Breau-style false harmonics who has also taken Lenny's notion of emulating Bill Evans-like voicings on the guitar to the extreme by adding a set of 10 tunable harp strings near his right picking hand, which he uses to extend arpeggios and enhance chordal voicings. On Just Duet (Heard Instinct), deGruy joins several esteemed guitar partners. He plays it in fairly straight ahead jazz-standard mode with Larry Coryell on the lushly voiced ballad "Lenny's From Heaven" and with Hank Mackie on "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise." With eight-string guitarist Charlie Hunter, deGruy turns in a groove-laden "The Nun With the Dirty Habit" and a gorgeous reading of Monk's "Ugly Beauty." His most radical excursions are reserved for encounters with slide guitar wiz David Tronzo (a twisted rendition of Roger Miller's "King of the Road" as well as on several textural interludes strewn throughout the collection) and former Tin Machine guitarist Reeves Gabrels ("When I Fall in Sequence" and "Pardon Our Progress-Expect Delays"). "Phil's approach to the guitar sounds like John Coltrane meets Mel Brooks at a party for Salvador Dali." ~ Steve Vai James Singleton is an acoustic bassist, composer, and producer with an intimate and extensive affiliation with the New Orleans music scene. He is a member of the long-lived New Orleans-based experimental, progressive jazz group Astral Project with Johnny Vidacovich, Tony Dagradi and Steve Masakowski, and has been described as one the best and most sought after bassists in New Orleans. He has performed with John Scofield, Stanton Moore, and John Medeski as well as John Abercrombie, Art Baron, Ellis Marsalis, Earl Turbinton, Eddie Harris, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Lionel Hampton, Arnett Cobb and Banu Gibson, among others. Singleton has recorded with artists such as Chet Baker, Alvin "Red" Tyler, James Booker, Johnny "Tan Canary" Adams, Charlie Rich and Zachary Richard, and more. He produced Astral Project's Elvado, which won OffBeat Magazine' s 1998 "Best Modern Jazz Album" of the year award, and although Elvado has been described as "straight-ahead bop-influenced Jazz with a Crescent City ambiance," Astral Project's live performances are known for improvisation which Singleton has described as "composing in the groove." He has led projects such as "3 Now 4," "The James Singleton Orchestra" and "The James Singleton Trio," while some of Singleton's recent projects include playing as a member of New Orleans saxophonist Robert Wagner's Trio and the New Orleans by way of California keyboardist Robert Walter's Trio. In early 2007 he toured nationally with Skerik and Mike Dillon as the Illuminasty Trio. Tonight, deGruy and Singleton collaborate for a one-night-only duo show.