Evening with International Guitar Night / Various
More than simply an annual gathering of the international music community's most beloved and acclaimed guitarists, International Guitar Night is about breaking down artistic and cultural barriers and promoting a joyful spirit of global harmony. IGN founder and steel string performer Brian Gore's mission of promoting 'a Confederation of like minded performing composers,' in addition to his own personal affinity for folk, jazz and classical music, has attracted numerous luminaries to the tour lineups since he launched the concept in 1994-including Ralph Towner, Peppino D'Agostino, Martin Taylor, Alex De Grassi and Mimi Fox. An Evening With International Guitar Night Live, IGN's first commercially released concert recording ever, gathers 14 outstanding nylon and steel string acoustic guitar performances from the IGN 2004 Winter Tour, featuring the most explosive lineup to date: California natives Gore (steel string guitar) and Andrew York (nylon string), Grammy winning Brazilian legend Guinga (nylon) and the Grammy nominated, French Algerian born Pierre Bensusan (steel). Produced by Bensusan, the project-which includes selections from performances at the Civic Center in Thousand Oaks, California, the Gordon Center in Baltimore, Merrimack College in Andover, Mass.--features all original compositions, performed in both solo and duet settings, plus the rousing, Bensusan composed finale 'How Should I Know?' which includes point-counterpoint, melody and harmony lines by the entire quartet. This piece was recorded at the College of Dupage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. 'Before IGN was on the scene, the world of performing guitarists was segregated by jazz, folk and classical, and we've achieved the goal of taking away these false boundaries between genres,' says Gore, who has led tours of 15-30 shows annually for the past decade. 'It fired people up hearing jazz and classical artists communicating with folk performers. What makes the artists in this recording so unique is their ability to contribute very good songs. In a field with so much technical talent, the danger is focusing too much on virtuosity at the expense of the music, but we play unapologetically in service of the music. I've chosen three world class guitarists who are the best at what they do technically and harmonically, yet the basic idea was simple-to make a CD that people who love music can listen to and enjoy.' Gore's professional relationship with Grammy Nominee and veteran Los Angeles Guitar Quartet member York reaches back to 1994, when Gore produced a show for his future compatriot. York's first IGN appearance came two years later, and he later appeared on Gore's 2000 solo release (his second overall) Legacy. Bensusan hooked up with IGN in 2001, representing, according to Gore, 'what we're all about, trying to cross boundaries and have a varied collaborative spirit. Everyone better understood that dimension when he began participating. Pierre is also the one who first suggested performing more originals.' As a composer, Guinga, a Grammy winner for his outstanding work with Sergio Mendes, is often equated in his home country with the great Antonio Carlos Jobim. Until joining IGN for the first time this year, his exposure in the U.S. was minimal. Gore believes each member contributes to the boundary breaking musical vibe and chemistry of the current International Guitar Night in a unique and extraordinary way. 'Andrew is the pre-eminent and best loved modern classical guitar composer in America, and Pierre has shown that the steel string guitar can be a forum for a high form of art,' he says. 'He's one of the first people in the history of folk to successfully blend world music impulses with the music of his cultural upbringing. He is not limited by his status as the most versatile player on the scene who employs altered tuning technique. And Guinga has the most detailed musical palette of anyone who is not classically trained. Both melodically and harmonically, he is incredibly emotive.' Despite each performer's unique sense of fingerstyling, An Evening With International Guitar Night Live flows seamlessly. Gore's compositions 'Michael's Theme' and 'Handwork' are thoughtful, reflective and intricate and 'Loom of Desire,' the composition performed by him with York, has lyrical touches of soulful melancholy. Bensusan's tunes are characterized by a balance of graceful strumming and snappy cool, sometimes on the same track (the opening cut 'L'Alchimiste,' performed with Gore'). He also performs the hypnotic, romantic ballad 'Without You' with Guinga and the folksy, seductive 'Naked Dance' with York. His solo numbers include the experimental, percussive 'Intuite' and the festive, chant-imbued 'Bamboule.' Guinga also offers interesting moodswings, from the dark-toned meditation 'Choru Breve' to the higher-toned, percussive and optimistic 'Picotado.' York's solo contributions are the bright and folksy 'Moontan' and the loping, whimsically energetic 'Marley's Ghost.' Guinga and York collaborate on 'Senhorinha,' a Brazilian flavored tune with a deep sense of longing. Summing up the great appeal of the acoustic guitar based music of the current IGN lineup, Gore says, 'Solo guitarists have a way of expressing the vast poetry of life with a unique signature which you can't find on other instruments. They tap into a special dialogue of emotions. An Evening With International Guitar Night conveys the essence of what I have been trying to accomplish through this unique musical setting. In a very subtle but significant way, Pierre's production helps us show the positive manifestations of that realized potential. It's a celebration of how the guitar can facilitate global harmony and contribute peace and healing to a world so in need of it.'