Master guitarist gives glimpses of repertoire
15th Annual Bermuda Guitar Festival
Presented by the Bermuda School of Music at St Andrew’s Church
Jake Reichbart, guitar
Master teacher and arranger Jake Reichbart was on his first visit to Bermuda.
His repertoire of jazz, rock and pop standards is vast, containing more than 5,000 individual melodies, which he has arranged himself and honed for his unique fingerstyle treatment.
His playing is strictly classical, a thumbed base with each right hand finger targeted to one or two strings.
This evening he played a well-worn Ibanez with light amplification and the sound was exceptionally clear. It reminded me of Joe Pass, whom he mentioned as being a role model. And like Joe Pass, Reichbart styled each melody with clusters of individually crafted grace notes, flourishes and supporting harmonic structures to give them individuality.
The first half contained numbers ranging from Michael Jackson (This Girl Is Mine), the Beatles (Something In The Way She Moves), the Bee Gees (How Deep Is Your Love), Chicago (If You Leave Me Now) and included an exquisite arrangement of a rare 1962 Modern Jazz Quartet number, Skating in Central Park. The quartet was at the height of their creative powers in the early 1960s and this beautiful waltz was one of their finest tunes, showing Reichbart at his most lyrical.
He explained that in order to connect better with listeners he weaves together clusters of melodies from individual artists, blending them into a continuum with elements reminiscent of each, thus creating something original yet familiar at the same time.
The second half contained blends of Frank Sinatra (The Way You Look Tonight — Fly Me To The Moon — Witchcraft), Bossa Nova (The Girl From Ipanema — Meditacion — Desafinado) followed by a dizzyingly eclectic series of requests from the enthusiastic audience, which included items as diverse as the Shadows’ 1960 Apache to BB King’s 1969 The Thrill Has Gone, via Carlos Santana’s Samba Pa Ti and finally The Carpenters’ Only Just Begun. Time having run out, Reichbart’s envoi was the 1938 hit by Warren and Mercer, Jeepers Creepers.
Let us hope Steve Crawford and his team will grant us another glimpse of this versatile and original musician on his second visit to our shores.
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