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Published: 2002/01/23
by Michael Lello

On Your Mark, Get Set… Fro! – Fro

self-released

The website of Fro, aka guitarist Harold Davis, heralds his On Your
Mark, Get Set… Fro! CD as "groovelicious and nutritious".
At first glance, it's an artist with a silly name and a silly slogan.
But first impressions can be deceiving.

The "groovelicious and nutritious" tag is perfect here. Why? This
instrumental CD funks
and grooves hard, but this isn't just shake ya ass music. There's
substance here. No empty
calories.

The first song (it's actually track two, but the first track is an
intro), "Funk-O-Bop", lives
up to its title as well. Fro, known by many as a collaborator with Deep
Banana Blackout, and alto
sax player Dave Savitsky duke it out with bebop melodies. About two minutes
in, Fro starts
some pure rock and roll riffing, and then the funk ensues. Shortly after,
we're in swing town.

Early on, its clear that Fro isn't content with sticking with any one
genre for too long. It's
a risk that pays off. He and his bandmates – Rich Zurkowski (bass), Eric
Kalb (drums), Savitsky,
Paul Riley (trombone) and Jamie Finegan (keys) – are able to leap from style
to style without
making the album sound disjointed. That's a credit not only to the group's
versatility and talent,
but also Fro's composition and arrangement skills.

"Late Night Drive" is sophisticated jazz. Fro plays some tasteful, atmospheric chords and adds some volume-control dynamics. Finegan plinks out a piano line, and Kalb keeps swinging and leading the group through the changes like a jazzer extraordinare. The tune progresses into a Savitsky sax solo before Fro steps out with a funky wah-wah guitar solo. His style here, combined with his rhythm section's playing, is once of the bouncier moments on the record. While not much ground is broken on "Drive" – the closest thing to smooth jazz on the release – it's still a solid track and fits in well as a contrast to some of the more experimental material.

Fro, a member of Jen Durkin and the Conscious Underground, displays the
craft of
making an album usually reserved for recording veterans. And while the set
is
surprisingly short at
around 27 minutes, his sequencing of the tunes (there are only five songs)
and
interspersing them
with brief interludes that include giggling, clicking drum sticks and a
haunting guitar soundscape,
create a complete album experience. Many artists of his ilk make studio
albums that sound like
live records without an audience. Fro shows he's not only a master composer
and instrumentalist,
but a master of the studio.

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