Get this crazy baby off my head!


Vernon Reid & Masque

Vernon Reid & Masque - Known Unknown - 2004 - Favored Nations

Vernon Reid finally follows up his solo debut with Known Unknown, a mere eight years (!) after Mistaken Identity. The template is basically the same: Reid and his longtime bandmates keyboardist Leon Gruenbaum and bassist Hank Schroy (drummer Marlon Browden is new for this recording) set up deceptively simple little heads and then just throw down. Reid gets some amazingly thick tones out of his guitar, and his playing sounds like no one else. Mistaken Identity was graced with some great clarinet blowing, courtesy of Don Byron. Byron sits out this date (although one of the solos in "Outskirts" sure sounds like clarinet), but that just gives Gruenbaum more room to stretch out. Byron's presence is missed, to be sure, but Gruenbaum turns in some absolutely head-spinning solos, often on his own keyboard invention, the Samchillian Tip Tip Tip Chee Peeee. The production is a good bit more straightforward as well: Reid co-produced Known Unknown with engineer Joe Johnson, while the last one was helmed by Reid with Prince Paul and Teo Macero (what a producer lineup!). This album is totally instrumental, whereas the last one had a moment or two with vocals and many samples, and the loopiness and sense of humor Prince Paul brought to the table are largely absent. Interestingly, they try out a couple of covers on this album: Monk's "Brilliant Corners" and Lee Morgan's "The Sidewinder," the latter of which is ultimately more successful (it ain't easy doing justice to Monk tunes). DJ Logic joins for "Voodoo Pimp Stroll," one of the album's highlights, along with the beautiful "Time." Known Unknown may not reach the highs of Mistaken Identity, but it's great to hear Vernon Reid's guitar out front again on an all-instrumental album. © Sean Westergaard © 2013 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/known-unknown-mw0000330974

It’s not easy to try and create an instrumental album where New Orleans grooves, metal, rock, reggae, funk, hip-hop, and high energy metal jazz fusion elements are fused to create a successful sound. In fact, this sounds like a very ambitious project, but Vernon Reid & Masque make it work and the resulting album sounds great with top notch musicianship. Listen to Vernon Reid’s brilliant “Mistaken Identity” album and Jack Bruce’s great “Shadows In The Air” album with Vernon Reid playing on three tracks [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 113 Mb]


1. Known Unknown - Vernon Reid 5:04
2. The Slouch - Vernon Reid 4:15
3. Brilliant Corners - Thelonius Monk 2:40
4. Strange Blessing - Vernon Reid 5:10
5. Outskirts - Vernon Reid 3:50
6. Down And Out In Kigali And Freetown - Reid, Schroy, Gruenbaum, Browden 2:54
7. Sidewinder - Lee Morgan 2:34
8. Voodoo Pimp Stroll - Vernon Reid 6:01
9. Time - Vernon Reid, Kitaro 4:47
10. Flatbush And Church - Reid, Schroy, Gruenbaum, Browden 3:46
11. Ebow Underground (Excerpt) - Vernon Reid 0:39
12. X The Unknown - Vernon Reid 6:04


Vernon Reid - Guitar, Guitar Synth.
Hank Schroy - Bass
Leon Gruenbaum - Organ, Piano, Casio, Samchillian Electronic Keyboard Instrument
Marlon Browden - Drums
DJ Logic - Turntables on Track 8


As the lead guitarist of Living Colour and a co-founder of the Black Rock Coalition, Vernon Reid has done a great deal to undermine stereotypical expectations of what music black artists ought to play; his rampant eclecticism encompasses everything from hard rock and punk to funk, R&B and avant-garde jazz, and his anarchic, lightning-fast solos have become something of a hallmark as well. Born in London, Reid and his family emigrated to Brooklyn while he was a child; he began playing guitar at age 15, initially studying jazz and progressing quickly. In 1980, he joined drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society, a cutting-edge jazz group with whom he appeared on six albums; over the course of the decade, Reid went on to work with a wide variety of experimental musicians -- Defunkt, Bill Frisell, John Zorn, Arto Lindsay, and Public Enemy, among others. Around 1983, Reid formed the first version of what was to become Living Colour; in 1985, with journalist Greg Tate, he formed the Black Rock Coalition, an organization devoted to opening doors in the music business for black musicians who were not content being confined to the roles of soul crooner or rapper. Living Colour did not really begin to jell until their lineup stabilized in 1986, and when Mick Jagger saw the group perform at CBGB's and invited them to appear on his Primitive Cool album. Jagger went even further, producing two demo tracks and helping to convince Epic to sign the group. Living Colour debuted to massive critical acclaim in 1988 with Vivid; the group lasted through Time's Up (1990) and Stain (1993) before disbanding in 1995. Reid has continued to make periodic appearances on others' recordings, and in 1996, he issued his solo debut, Mistaken Identity. He resurfaced in 2002 as one half of Yohimbe Brothers, a duo also featuring DJ Logic. The two released the Front End Lifter album in September and subsequently toured the United States throughout October. They issued a followup in 2004 on Thirsty Ear entitled The Tao Of Yo.Reid has remained active as both a session guitarist and as a producer, most notably on James Blood Ulmer's recordings since 2001 beginning with Memphis Blood: The Sun Sessions in 2001 and continuing through 2003's No Escape From the Blues: The Electric Lady Sessions, 2004's Birthright and Bad Blood in the City: The Piety Street Sessions in 2007. Also in 2007, Reid, bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma, and drummer Grant Calvin Weston played a get-together for the closing of New York's Tonic performance space. The show went well enough for the trio form a band called the Free Form Funky Freqs; their drbut album, Urban Mythology: Volume One was released as part of Thirsty Ear's Blue Series in February of 2008. © Steve Huey © 2013 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/vernon-reid-mn0000268762/biography

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