Guitar summit headed to Greenfield

Tuesday July 23, 2013

GREENFIELD, Mass. -- Freddie Bryant is bringing his Guitar Summit to the Arts Block at 289 Main St. on Saturday, July 27, from 1 to 6 p.m.

Following the afternoon workshop, impresario Daniel Krasnitz brings together two of the finest contemporary jazz groups -- the Freddie Bryant Trio and the Alex Snydman Trio -- on the same program for an 8 p.m. concert.

"We want people to get their guitar strings dirty," Bryant said, of the Guitar Summit. "It’s not going to be a lecture. This is a fully interactive, high-altitude adventure to reach new peaks of your musical experience."

Freddie will cover a wide musical landscape from the blues to Bossa, from African-inspired jazz to country to rock and beyond. A musician of the first rank, Bryant is equally as well- regarded as a teacher at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He encourages players to bring either their electric or acoustic guitars and get set for a supportive afternoon.

"Freddie bases his unique and powerful workshop," said Krasnitz, "around learning carefully selected songs and arrangements that can accommodate various levels of skill. The five-hour length of the workshop will allow plenty of time for hands-on, personal work with Freddie and your guitar."

Participants will be given the opportunity to play on-stage at the evening concert with Bryant’s trio. "Not to worry," said Krasnitz. "While participation in the concert is strongly suggested, it’s not required. You can take part in just the workshop if you so desire.

"This is not a competition or a test. Freddie is a master at creating a collaborative environment and bringing together players of different skill levels. He has that rare ability to make learning fun."

Another sterling quality Bryant possesses is the ability to inspire students to play in their own authentic voice, to further develop their own musical selves.

"I got to met Freddie," said Krasnitz, "when he came to the Arts Block to back up John Clark, the French horn player. We get a lot of really top-flight musicians coming through the Arts Block, but Freddie Bryant is the crème de la crème. He is a wizard on guitar with a jaw-dropping sense of musicality and a terrific sense of humor. And he’s a very approachable guy.

"I’ve been playing guitar for close to three decades. Watching him play was inspirational and uplifting. It made me want to be a better guitar player and to further develop my own voice."

Active in the New York jazz scene, Bryant has recorded four albums as a band leader. He’s also had the distinction of touring with three musical legends: African singer Salif Keita, virtuoso klezmer clarinetist, Maestro Giora Feidman, and jazz trumpeter Tom Harrell.

Bryant has performed in 50 countries. He’s also collaborated with an eclectic group of musicians, such as Indian sitarist Shubhendra Rao; traditional groups in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates; along with Cuban trumpeter El Greco.

In addition, Freddie is a four-time cultural ambassador for the Department of State. And the 1987 Amherst College graduate has performed at the Kennedy Center over National Public Radio, joining with the Billy Taylor Trio on "Live at the Kennedy Center."

Bryant’s trio consists of guitar, bass, and drums or percussion. Freddie will play three different guitars: the nylon/classical, 12-string, and electric, lending unanticipated, complex underlying patterns and tones. The 12-string guitar also renders a distinctive Latin influence.

Meanwhile, the Alex Snydman Trio is also deeply steeped in the knowledge of how to honor the jazz genre and its great players who’ve provided inspiration, while bringing fresh and interesting material that explores new territory. These attributes are accomplished by extremely melodic lines that feature an exciting, delightful unfamiliarity.

Snydman, an outstanding drummer, has recently released an album as a band leader. It’s entitled "Fortunate Action" and has been featured on "Morning Edition" on National Public Radio.

"The title of the album," said Snydman, "is really a term that to me symbolizes the positive ripples that echo out when we listen to our inner voice. Sometimes this intuition we are all imbued with is telling us to make a difficult decision, but it seems that it is always directing us towards a path of love."

Both a leader and a sideman, Snydman has played on the East and West Coasts at major jazz clubs and festivals. Snydman has shared the stage with artists such as Grammy winner Charles Neville, Avery Sharpe, Joe Sanders, Felipe Salles, Miro Sprague, and Tatum Greenblatt.

Admission to the July 27 afternoon workshop is $50 and also includes admission and participation with the Freddie Bryant Trio in the evening concert. Admission for the concert itself is $10 online and $15 at the door.

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