Vertical Eden
(Morphic Resonance Media)


A one man orchestra of acoustic guitar wonderment, David Pritchard is certainly no newcomer to the world of experimental guitar music. Back when he was a teenager, in 1969 he played with jazz master Gary Burton. Later he recorded with Inner City Records in New York. Based in California, Pritchard has remained active in the music world all these years, releasing several classic instrumental albums, including his acclaimed 2004 CD Velocity. Following Velocity, Pritchard released his most adventurous CD in 2008. Entitled Vertical Eden, the album follows Pritchard’s inclination for mixing all forms of acoustic guitar music—from avant jazz to modern classical and beyond. Accompanying Pritchard’s acoustic steel string and classical guitars and synth work are several players including fellow guitarists Kevin Tiernan and Ken Rosser (both on steel string acoustic) along with Harry Scorzo (strings), Erik Kertes (electric/acoustic bass) and Christopher Garcia (percussion). A mesmerizing foray into the realm of what more can be done with the acoustic guitar, Vertical Eden, sounds like Pritchard is channeling a mix of Philip Glass and Leo Kottke. It’s just that good. Much like the attractive painting gracing the CD cover artwork, Vertical Eden is an acoustic guitar opus that reveals more sonic details with each successive spin. Play it once and you’ll want to hear it again. www.MorphicResonanceMusic.com

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Musical Background

I’m basically self-taught with the exception of a couple of years of music and composition studies at UCSB (Univ. of Calif. Santa Barbara). Also I had some private instruction on classical guitar. I actually started playing on a classical guitar as a kid but switched over to electric as a teenager inspired by rock n’ roll, naturally. By the time I was a senior in high school, though, I had become a pretty diehard jazz fanatic with my tastes leaning towards what was considered avant-garde at that time, players like Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, and Cecil Taylor and also to the early experimenters attempting to bridge the jazz and rock worlds, such as Miles Davis and John McLaughlin. I also enjoyed composing which I was doing even before I learned to notate music correctly. After twenty years or so as a jazz player and doing two LPs as a leader for Inner City Records, I began to head in a different direction, more classically influenced, and playing primarily on an acoustic guitar.

New CD

My latest recording, Vertical Eden had more players on board than any of my other recordings. In addition to two other guitarists who also play in my acoustic guitar group, Ken Rosser and Kevin Tiernan, the CD features violinist Harry Scorzo, bassist Erik Kertes, and percussionist Christopher Garcia, As with my previous acoustic recordings, almost all the music is poly rhythmic or at least has sections that are. The second track, “Garden of Time” was the trickiest to complete because Harry had two contrapuntal violin parts with a quarter note pulse, but the two guitar parts are subdividing the beat into groups of five 16th notes. Believe me, careful counting on the part of the players was required! I recorded the album at Scott Fraser’s studio in Los Angeles. Scott’s an incredible engineer and musician who also works with the Kronos Quartet. I was also very pleased to be able to mix with Rich Breen, one of LA’s top mixers. As with some of my previous acoustic recordings, some of the tracks are just me, either solo or overdubbed.

Favorite Guitars

Since I’m mainly playing acoustic guitar these days, both steel-string and nylon, these types of instruments are what I’m taking the most interest in. I just recently acquired a handmade steel string from Northern California luthier Ken Franklin. It’s one of the finest steel strings I’ve ever played and it features a beautiful French polished Italian spruce top. I also play an old Larrivee cutaway. I have two Spanish classicals, a spruce top Angel Benito Aguado that I ordered from him a few years ago when I was in Madrid and also a cedar top Joaquin Garcia. As far as electric's go, I still occasionally play my old early seventies Les Paul Custom.

Musical Influences

As mentioned previously, I discovered jazz while in high school and although I loved a traditionalist like Wes Montgomery who I had the pleasure of seeing perform live several times, I was mainly drawn to those who were pushing the envelope at that time, particularly those that were breaking down those barriers between jazz and rock; obviously Miles Davis would be at the top of the list. I also loved Gary Burton’s Quartet and had the pleasure of being a member of that group in 1969. Other influences from that period are Larry Coryell, Gabor Szabo, John McLaughlin, Tony Williams, Chick Corea and Weather Report. In the eighties, I started moving in a different direction, more classically influenced, and was a big fan of the pioneers of minimalism such as Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and Terry Riley as well as listening to other major twentieth century icons, particularly Stravinsky and Messiaen. At the moment I really love some of the work of Dutch composer Louis Andriessen. At the other end of the time spectrum, I think my writing also reflects the influence of Baroque and Renaissance music. Some influential albums that come to mind: Bitches Brew (Miles Davis), Duster (Gary Burton), Now He Sings, Now He Sobs (Chick Corea), Devotion (John McLaughlin), Twentieth Century Guitar (Julian Bream), Drumming and Music For 18 Musicians (Steve Reich) and De Staat (Louis Andriessen).

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