Kirkland Performance Center presents...

New West Guitar Group featuring Sara Gazarek

  • Friday, November 3, 2017 8:00PM
  • All Seats: $38

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Description

New West Guitar Group has developed a wide spread reputation as one of the premier guitar ensembles in the world. Featuring guitarists Perry Smith, John Storie, and Will Brahm, they perform recognizable covers, jazz standards and exciting originals. Their signature sound comes from an innovative style that highlights rhythm, beauty and virtuosity through combining acoustic and electric guitars. And for this performance they will be joined by special guest vocalist Sara Gazarek.

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Artist Bio

New West Guitar Group (NWGG) has developed a wide spread reputation as one of the premier guitar ensembles in the world. Featuring guitarists Perry Smith (NYC) John Storie(LA) and Will Brahm (LA), they perform recognizable covers, jazz standards and exciting originals. Their signature sound comes from an innovative style that highlights rhythm, beauty and virtuosity through combining acoustic and electric guitars. Smith and Storie founded the group 10 years ago and today they continue to tour as a trio with Brahm throughout the United States and abroad.

In August of 2015, New West Guitar Group released their new project ‘Send One Your Love’ on Summit Records. The recording features guest vocalists: Gretchen Parlato, Sara Gazarek, Becca Stevens, Tierney Sutton and Peter Eldridge. Downbeat Magazine gave this CD the prestigious Editor’s Pick in their August 2015 issue.

Praised as “sharp and refined” by the Seattle Times, the New West Guitar Group has released five instrumental albums over the last 10 years. Each project features their unique style of laid-back virtuosity through expert arrangements crafted by the members of the group. Their music is regularly featured on NPR and jazz radio stations, while their repertoire is performed throughout the country by college and high school guitar programs. Graduates of USC’s Thornton School of Music, the New West Guitar Group’s versatility as players and composers have given them a reputation as pioneers in the realm of guitar ensemble.

  • Beautiful acoustic rhythms, vibrant classically infused single note lines and jazzy arpeggios cover the magnificent  musical landscape these three players create.– Metronome Magazine
  • A rare chemistry…shimmering arpeggios, collectively strummed chords, tight cracking interplay and complementary playing.”–  Downbeat Magazine
  • They’re masters of their caressing, cascading sound, best categorized as chamber jazz…dexterously peppered, now and again, with Gypsy fire, flamenco zest and steel-string twang.” –  JazzTimes 
  • The group’s creativity in not being afraid to stretch boundaries is helping to forge a new area of music that should inspire other guitarists…” – Vintage Guitar Magazine

Amongst a community teaming with startlingly gifted young singers, NWGG’s featured vocalist Sara Gazarek stands out as a particularly extravagant artist. Her first two albums introduced her singular sound and vision, steeped in the tradition of jazz but deeply informed by contemporary songwriters and performers. With Blossom & Bee, her highly anticipated debut release on the respected indie label Palmetto, Gazarek turns over an exciting, glistening new leaf. With five years between her acclaimed 2007 album “Return to You” (Native Language) and “Blossom & Bee,” it’s no surprise that Gazarek has grown considerably in the meantime. What’s fascinating is the way that she’s tapped into sources of inspiration consonant with her own less-is-more sensibility. Working closely with the brilliant pianist/organist Larry Goldings, who produced the album, Gazarek and her band have crafted a program of emotionally expansive standards, inspired contemporary fare, and uncommonly memorable originals, all delivered with her insouciant sense of artistry.

As the title track might suggest, an undeniable thread running through “Blossom & Bee” is the irrepressibly buoyant spirit of jazz pianist, singer and songwriter Blossom Dearie. “When I looked at the 4 or 5 songs from our book that absolutely had to be on this record, I was surprised to realize they had all been inadvertently added to our repertoire over the years through our love for her.” From the upbeat and humorous “Everything I’ve Got,” their refreshing, glockenspiel laden take on “I’m Old Fashioned” and the meter-shifting “Tea For Two,” Gazarek acknowledges the direct correlation between these songs and Dearie’s.

“I’ve always seen myself more as a lyric interpreter” Sara says. “I’ve never been drawn to flashy vocal gymnastics, so I naturally fell in love with the simplicity of her voice and delivery,” Blessed with her own gorgeous, translucent voice, excellent pitch and supple sense of time, Gazarek manages to evoke the tough-minded discipline behind Dearie’s appealingly girlish sound. “She invests each song with so much emotion and musicality.”

But, rather than a tribute project, “Blossom & Bee” is meant to reflect the working repertoire of Gazarek’s stellar Los Angeles based group, featuring pianist Josh Nelson, bassist Hamilton Price and drummer Zach Harmon. “We are so excited to finally be able to share something with our listeners that encapsulates the energy, humor, and sheer joy we feel in our live performances,” Sara states.

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Genre Tags: Guitar, Jazz

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