Los Angeles guitarist Adrian Galysh delivers the "2" in the 1-2 punch of his first two guitar fusion albums, King Friday. Adrian veers from one style to another like an out-of-control auto heading into oncoming traffic (an art one must master as an Angeleno). From rock to jazz to blues, and even soul and country, the compositions on King Friday are about flow. Bassist Philip Bynoe and drummer Charlie Waymire—two of Los Angeles County's finest rhythm session players—join Adrian on these eleven tracks; guesting on keyboards (four tracks) is the great Mike Keneally of Zappa Band fame.
"Slight Of Hand" levitates itself with all the verve and pep Joe Satriani used to bestow. When the terms kick and ass are as much an action as an adjective when used collectively, music such as this fits those definitions. Galysh and company perfectly capture the SoCal vibe and paint a sonic portrait of molded concrete and natural hills and vegetation existing side-by-side. The pavement catches fire when Adrian turns over the right channel to longtime jazz legend Carl Verheyen on "Ventura Blvd." Wake up, Venice—your soundtrack has arrived. And after fire can only come…caffeine! How about a nice, hot cup of "Black Coffee"? You may need none after listening to three minutes of the most agitated instrumental rock ever recorded. Everyone has their own mental movies for these sort of episodes (I have mine). A nice jazz break (piano by Keneally) morphs into a warped lead—surprised the whammy bar didn't break off. Give a hand to the guests: trumpeter Paul Veslin and tenor saxophonist Janine Del Arte.
Organist-composer Jerry Corbetta contributes "Green Eyed Lady" and lays down a scintillatingly soulful, steamy organ line. "Lady Alaine" features a spellbinding vocal by Cynthia Hasson that elevates the mood to its rightful summit. The acoustic solo "Glacier Lake Pt. 1" transports the listener across its frozen blue expanse for two minutes with a melody as warm as the water is cold. "Just For Today" will shock the listener with its exasperatingly cool flair (dig the classical piano line by Adrian). A dirge-like ode to the fallen, "Of War" is one of the best tracks—again, all-acoustic, and a synth backdrop. "The Walls Inside" prolongs this introspect approach, shifting the focus to battles within. One more time for Keneally on the vigorous title track: "King Friday" thunders forth like an anthem for all of that anxiety one fosters during a typical week in the life. Guitar chords clang against each other like bricks pulverized to dust. Somewhere there must be a release valve for all of this pressure—and this is it! Taking his bow, Adrian stays plugged in and reprises the melody of the theme of "Glacier Lake Pt. 2."
King Friday is one of the better entries I've heard in this subcategory in recent years. Greg Howe may have to keep an eye over his shoulder at this rate.