While vocalist Christina Booth provides Magenta with their focal point and keyboardist Rob Reed is the all-round instrumentalist, it’s guitarist Chris Fry who is arguably the unsung hero among the triumvirate at the Welsh proggers’ core. He has become a mainstay of the band, racking up over a decade’s unbroken service, and has ample room to shine with them, particularly in the live arena.
His debut solo album, Composed offers another perspective on this talented player. Fry cites both Jimi Hendrix and classical guitarist Julian Bream as his key influences – two diametrically opposed players.
Composed owes considerably more to the former than the latter, and is an all-instrumental album of 10 tracks featuring Fry on all manner of acoustic guitars and mandolin, backed solely by some programming (supplied by Fry’s brother, former Magenta bassist Dan and Reed himself) and violin.
Fry is a remarkably dextrous player but the pleasant surprise here is just how engaging the music is. An album like this has the potential to be rather one-note, but with a series of memorable tunes on offer this is an unexpected treat for those mellower moments.