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Marc Ribot

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Marc Ribot


Up until fairly recently, most of Marc Ribot's best playing tended to surface on other people's albums rather than his own, his electric guitar work leaving its stamp on standout efforts by Tom Waits, John Zorn, and the Lounge Lizards, among others. So in a way it's fitting that he's finally gained wider recognition leading a band (Los Cubanos Postisos, or "the Prosthetic Cubans") that centers around someone else's music -- in this case that of Cuba's Arsenio Rodriguez. This unexpectedly popular project highlights the more melodic, less abrasive side of his mongrelized guitar style, a merger of jazz finesse, Punk attitude, and Chuck Berry-inspired rock 'n' roll simplicity with shards of blues, Surf, and Latin music. His past groups have emphasized these elements in varying proportions: Shrek was a noisy, confrontational outfit that combined simple, folk-like melodies with deconstructionist improv rampages; the aptly named Rootless Cosmopolitans came closer to "normal" rock and blues at times, but Ribot's cynical, knowingly off-key vocals and bleeding-amp guitar leads kept things off balance. These projects have their imperfections -- more so than the recent Cuban one -- but when you're dealing with someone who owns up to playing "wrong notes" in his solos, perfection is not to be expected, or even really desired.
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