The music of guitarist David Fabris has been steeped deeply in an eclectic pool of influences. These influences are evident in the variety of performances and ensembles to his credit. His  solo CD, Lettuce Prey (Great Winds), seamlessly travels between the worlds of Jazz, Rock, and  Contemporary Classical music. He has recorded four records (Hatology, Soulnote, NoBusiness)  and toured internationally with his mentor, third stream pianist Ran Blake, to great acclaim. He  is also a founding member of the genre-busting David Sanford Big Band who’s latest recording,  Prayer For Lester Bowie (Greenleaf Records) is expanding the boundaries of big band music.  He is also celebrating 20 years with his punk-cabaret trio IMPetus, which has played festivals  in NYC, San Diego and Santander Spain. 

A graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, ”The Knife" also performed (on banjo)  with his traditional jazz band, Mudsole, for both of President Clinton’s inaugurals. He was a  reserve guitarist for Bernie Worrell, a founder of the seminal funk band Parliament. A dedicated  teacher, Mr. Fabris was the founder of the Fabulous School of Music in Beverly MA, an adjunct  professor at Boston University, St. Thomas Aquinas and Passaic County Community College.  He even coached ensembles at his alma mater, NEC (the music of Jimi Hendrix and the music  of Ran Blake).



Dave's Gear

My very first guitar was junk but good enough to start me on my path - I started wearing a back brace (for scoliosis) at that time so I duct taped padding on the guitar where the brace rubbed against it. After a couple of years of serious practice, I convinced my folks that I was due for an upgrade. I came across an Electra Les Paul style guitar (around 1982) at a local music store that I just had to have!

Electra was a econo brand made in Japan (in the now famed Matsumoko Factory) but the model I swooned over (Vulcan X940) was an MPC which stood for “modular powered circuitry”. It has 2 built in effects (power overdrive and phaser) which can be easily removed and swapped for new ones. You turn on each effect with a switch below the volume and tone knobs and change one parameter for each effect with a corresponding knob on top of the guitar...brilliant design! The guitar also has a glued in neck, brass nut and a brass ingot that the saddle is set into. The sustain is really remarkable...

Another few years passed, the guitar became my obsession, and I discovered jazz. Pat Metheny was my hero and I saw his group every year on the Boston Common...he played a Gibson ES-175 and I decided I needed to upgrade and get a hollow body guitar like that. I found a 1954 ES-175 at Daddy’s Junky Music in Boston before my senior year of high school and fell in love with that guitar. Luckily, the vintage guitar market had not quite taken off at that time and I was able to afford this amazing instrument and it became my main guitar as I studied jazz at the New England Conservatory of Music (with Mick Goodrick, Ran Blake, Charlie Banacos, etc...).
Even though I still played the Gibson on straight-ahead jazz gigs, I began to realize that my personality and unique sound was best expressed with my Electra playing the “fringe” music that I really loved - the gray areas between jazz, rock and contemporary composition. My crazy original jazz punk band, Gingerbutkis played heavy distorted versions of Thelonious Monk, Frank Zappa and Khatchaturian... we had a 4 piece horn section and even invited my mentor, Ran Blake to play at dive bars around Boston with us.
Ever since the 1990s that Electra has been my secret weapon and has been on every tour and recording I’ve done with Ran Blake, the David Sanford big band, solo (Lettuce Prey) and guest appearances.
It’s the guitar that best expresses my idiosyncrasies!

My amp of choice is a Pearce solid state head with two single 12’ speaker cabinets I made (FabCabs, of course). This amp came out in the 1980s and was used by my heroes Bill Frisell and Mike Stern for a while (Stern’s Pearce was still stored in the back room of the 55 bar before they closed). The pairing of that amp with my Electra guitar is the secret sauce of my solo album, Lettuce Prey. It has two separate channels for clean and dirty sounds but also allows to have both channels on at once so I am able to have a heavy edge and sustain with the clarity of a clean sound at the same time when needed.

Occasionally I play a Ludwig tenor banjo from the 1920s that I inherited from my grandfather (no one even knew he ever played!). I played this sweet instrument with my traditional jazz band, Mudsole as we busked on the streets of Boston and New Orleans. My Martin D15 is my acoustic guitar that can be heard of my solo album and is my main instrument I bring to teach lessons on...great bass response! If I find myself playing in a band with another chordal instrument, I may reach for my mid nineties Fender American standard Stratocaster as she tends to “play well with others”.