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Review: 'International' teasmwork pulls Guitar performance together

| Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013, 9:33 a.m.

International Guitar Night Friday evening proved one adage touted virtually everywhere, on the stage or the playing field. Teamwork always excels over solo efforts. Such was the case at the performance of this touring guitar showcase at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild on the North Side. Each of the four guitarists showed their remarkable skills in an opening round in which they played solo. And each performed in a range of styles that thoroughly justified the word "international". But the show would have been only acceptable at that point. In fact, it could have been a case of "too much of a good thing," leaving listeners pleased but unmoved. The team effort, however, pulled the show - and the audience - to its feet. They explored pieces from Brazil to a pretty ballad that was a theme to a TV show in Japan. International enough for you? One of the highlights of the evening was "Parazula," which was a piece by Brazilian Ceslo Machado that he said he "wrote for solo guitar, but we are just going to jam and see what happens." The jamming was gentle for quite a bit - let's face it, the song provides plenty more challenges than "Satin Doll" - but 70 percent of the way through everyone was adding good counterlines and Martin Taylor was cranking out a melodic statement. Machado was the star of the show, offering not only great Brazilian-flavored play, but also adding tons of color from a table filled with all sorts of hand percussion devices, whistles, bird calls and even a stuffed monkey that at one point ended up on the top of Taylor's guitar. Taylor, a Scot whose roots are in jazz, offered music linked to that genre but played more in his broader style that draws influences from folk, classical and even educational sources. His "I Fall In Love Too Easily, " for instance, was a rich offering of overall play, blending melody, counter-melodies and ineffable rhythm. Solorazaf blends many influences, too, tying folk sounds from his native Madagascar to Western fingrerstyle. He also added many wordless vocals to his music along with a great deal of mouth percussion. Brain Gore, the organizer of the shows that have been on the road 13 years, had a tough time staying with his colleagues' intensity in his New Age-y compositions.

But his work as host and mastermind bring him enough credits to get by that challenge.

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