Trio of guitarists mix things up for delightful evening of music
ALBANY A large crowd of die-hard guitar fans braved Wednesday’s storm to hear a concert at The Egg by three of the best guitarists around, each with their own specialty.
Sharon Isbin is the reigning queen of classical guitar; Stanley Jordan is an exceptional jazz electric guitarist with an unorthodox playing method; and Romero Lubambo is considered by many to be the greatest living Brazilian guitarist, known for seamlessly blending jazz with bossa nova.
The guitarists mixed things up with solos, duos and even a few trios. Most of the material was written by South American composers, including Lubambo, and several of the tunes came from already released discs: Jordan’s “State of Nature” (2008); Isbin’s “Passions” (2011) and “Journey to the New World” (2009).
Improvisation was at the core of the program done usually by the two men with Isbin showing off her fabulous technique or creating a mood. The crowd responded with cheers and whistles.
They began with Isaias Savio’s “Batucada” done as a folksy, mellow samba for the trio, followed by Manuel de Falla’s “Miller’s Dance.” Isbin snapped off some wonderful deep strumming and stylish moves as the two men improvised. Having driven up from Wilmington, Del., the musicians were still getting a feel for the hall and each other, so things hadn’t settled yet.
Isbin took a solo, Albeniz’s “Asturias.” With her attention to detail, even to dynamic levels, and strong pacing, she kept the crowd enthralled.
Jordan and Lubambo took a turn improvising sensationally on an Antonio Jobim sensuous bossa nova and then on what possibly was a very uptempo version of the jazz standard “All the Things You Are.” Jordan’s style — fingering with both hands at the neck and not strumming — was novel but effective.
Jordan’s solo version of the slow movement to Mozart’s Piano Concerto #21 was beautiful, even to the extra licks and echo that he added. Lubambo did a vigorous reading of his own piece “Por Flavio.” Isbin and Lubambo played Gentil Montana’s “Porro” with great charm as well as Agustin Barrios Mangoré’s Allegro.
Jordan flirted with the piano playing streams of notes with one hand while he played guitar with the other to create swirls of sound. Isbin joined him to do a lovely Antonio Lauro piece, followed by an Isbin solo in Andrew York’s pretty “Albaycin.”
Also terrific were Isbin and Lubambo in Jobim’s “Double Rainbow,” a movement from a Bach lute sonata, and another bossa nova called “Influence to Jazz” with Lubambo. All three in a Laurindo Almeida arrangement of a movement from a Rodrigo guitar concerto was uncoordinated until the bossa nova arrived. The encore was Almeida’s sweet “Brazilliance.”