Tim SPARKS in concerto al SIX BARS JAIL - 6.4.12 - Wayfaring Stranger





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Published on Apr 6, 2012

A remarkable concert given by Tim Sparks at the Six Bars Jail club, the "fingerstyle guitarists' corner", tucked away in the hills surrounding Florence.
The fifty-eight-year-old guitarist from North Carolina gave a display of his encyclopaedic repertoire, his interpretative skills, but also his frank humanity, playing two sets lasting over an hour and a half, with an air of relaxed assurance and without ever stamping heavily on the pedal of virtuosity.
The concert shifted continuously through every genre, style and tradition: from American to Armenian folk music, from blues to pop, from Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker (which Sparks transposed in its entirety for guitar some time ago) to the Beatles' Blackbird, Joni Mitchell's Clouds, to the Jewish-rooted music of John Zorn (with whom the guitarist has often collaborated), from Roy Orbison's Blue Bayou to some original tunes by Sparks himself. Always with extraordinary ability and lightness in the phrasing and unbelievable variety in harmony and timbre. And always sprinkling the pauses in his playing with spicy comments, appetizing anecdotes and delightful witticisms.
Sparks' style came across as simple and direct as his persona: elegant phrasing and harmonic work, the themes expressed with lucidity, great agility on the instrument, precise sounds. Almost a total absence of technical artifices, as if these were a mere frill that might obstruct the communication of the pure musical message to the audience. A guitarist who is extraordinarily modern in what is, all things considered, traditional playing.
A way of playing which is, moreover, fully in empathy with the Six Bars Jail club, which for the last six years has developed with generous social zeal, and without economic aid, a series of shows featuring prestigious names of the acoustic guitar. An empathy that materialized in Sparks' pleasure at taking part in the rites of signing the club guitar and the final photo with the most doughty enthusiasts who had remained behind to get to know the guitarist and thank him in person.
In periods of disenchantment and dwindling audiences, a reality to envy and
Written by Neri Pollastri for AllAboutJazz (http://italia.allaboutjazz.com/) and translated by Alex Gillan (Six Bars Jail)


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