With Genkin Philharmonic
Wednesday night at Baird Hall, University at Buffalo
Home grown Buffalonian guitarist/composer Elliott Sharp returned to the University at Buffalo for an electric performance. He performed three of his own compositions.
The first half was taken by "Selections From the Velocity of Hue" for solo guitar.
Sharp utilized the slide along with feedback to set the dark tone of the piece that grew and grew to a climax, ending with a pensive coda. He used his command of the hammering technique in both hands to create unique colors and textures.
Sharp was joined by UB's Genkin Philharmonic for the two pieces in the second half. Each member of the 11-man group delivered an important element to the entire evening.
The first piece, "Syndakit," is made up of 144 motives and a set of instructions that, when combined, lead to different results with each performance.
Vincent Loccisano spent a good deal of time plucking the inside of his piano, while baritone sax man Steve Baczkowski delivered a driving performance from start to finish.
The piece ended with a wonderful muted bass trumpet statement by Mike Williams. The effect from start to finish was faster and faster circles that finally just spun themselves out.
The composer put down his guitar to conduct his "Quarks Swim Free." He had 11 movements -- modules -- from which to choose from in any order, and he announced his selections to his musicians just before they played. This made things interesting for the percussionists in particular, but they pulled it all off beautifully.
The final movement was number 11. The pounding rhythmic ostinato never let up until the final huge chord. This is where the musicians put all of their energy.
As an encore, Sharp selected module number 7. The only thing that Elliot Sharp didn't do right all night was conduct the piece left-handed. His command was firm and relaxed.
It would be wonderful to have Sharp return to his hometown for more performances. Meanwhile, there is the Genkin Philharmonic right here to look forward to.