Kevin Ferguson — Strad to Strat
(Debone Music CLCS795, 1995, CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1996-03-01
An impressive effort, bringing the compositions of Paganini, Wieniawski, Vivaldi, Bach, Sarasate, and Rimsky-Korsakov from the realm of violins, string quartets, and orchestras to the world of the solo electric guitar – well, almost solo. Ferguson is from the Portland, Oregon area, and plays his '74 Stratocaster live with only synth orchestrations backing him up. Amazingly, he has tackled Paganini's complete violin concerto #1 – all three movements, no small feat by any means. His choice of material on the other tracks is equally compelling: Bach's violin concerto no. 1, part of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons," and "Zigeunerweisen" by Pablo Sarasate are among the album's eighteen tracks. At first listen I was a little annoyed by the orchestrations, and found myself wishing for some bass and drums, but after a few listens it became clear that Ferguson is not trying to take the music out of a classical context and into a rock format (a la Mastermind), but instead retaining the classical identity and merely substituting his stratocaster for the solo violin. With that he has succeeded impressively. Maybe next time he'll tackle Offenbach's Gaîté Parisienne. I'm waiting!
Related artist(s): Kevin Ferguson
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