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Guitar Summit II showcases masters in ‘Slide, Loop, and Shred’ styles
By Jim Fester
Fort Wayne Reader
When local musician Kevin Hiatt organized the first Guitar Summit in early June at the Cinema Center, the concept was simple. He wanted to create a venue for people to hear virtuosic guitar playing in an informal, concert-like setting rather than a bar or restaurant.
The first show in early June at the Cinema Center got a great response. Apparently, there were plenty of people hungry for the chance to simply sit back and listen to some of the area’s best guitarists do something other than bar tunes and background music.
Like the first event, Guitar Summit II showcases three guitar virtuosos playing in three distinct styles. But while the guitar styles showcased in the first Guitar Summit were very traditional (folk, classical, and jazz), this time around Hiatt thought it would be interesting to mix things up. The only things the three musicians of Guitar Summit II seem to have in common are (a) they’re all amazing at what they do; and (b) they all play guitar. “I wanted to show the wide range of music that’s possible to play on guitar,” Hiatt explains. “At Guitar Summit II, you’re going to hear about 40 or 50 years of American popular music history in one concert.”
The concert kicks off with Gary Martin, a Columbia City resident whose mastery of the pedal steel guitar has earned him spots as a sideman to a wide range of country musicians on stage and in recording sessions. He’ll be backed by a small combo, including Hiatt on six and 12-string guitar. “We’re going to be playing some American and Country swing, old style honky-tonk,” says Hiatt. “This is Country music when it was genuine, real Americana.” Pat Borton on bass and Sherry Marquelle on vocals round out Martin’s group.
From there, the music will take a leap into the 21st century with Michael John Mollo from Cincinnati. A critically acclaimed recording artist, Mollo is like the proverbial one-man band, combining his guitar with loop-based technology and even oral rhythm effects. The result is a fascinating and catchy mish-mass of jazz, “alternative” pop, and flowing “jam-band” music. Hiatt says Mollo is probably one of the leading examples on the kind of music being made today. “You hear a whole ensemble of instruments live. You hear the rhythm and the bass, and he creates percussion with his mouth.” He even uses a Theremin, a sort of synthesizer prototype played by waving your hands near two metal antennas, creating an eerie “whistling” sound (that weird thing you hear closing out the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” is a Theremin). As strange as the instrument may sound, seeing someone who really knows what they’re doing on a Theremin is a treat for the eyes and ears.
Finally, Fort Wayne’s own John Forbing, a well-known area guitar instructor and musician, will let loose on the electric guitar. “John Forbing is an electric rock virtuoso, like Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson,” says Hiatt. “He’s kind of like our hometown electric guitar jock.” Anyone curious about the range of sounds that can be coaxed out of an electric guitar will really appreciate Forbing’s skills.
Hiatt says that anyone coming to hear one particular style will enjoy what the other two musicians have to offer, and maybe learn something from it, too. “A kid who might come to the show to hear John Forbing shred on electric guitar might learn something just by being exposed to Gary’s traditional approach,” Hiatt says. “The roots of rock n’ roll are based in old country and the blues, and it’s a trend that’s currently being revived, while the loop thing is what’s going on today. You’re going to get a real sense of American pop music history at this show.”
Guitar Summit II
Sunday, September 19
Cinema Center, 437 East Berry
All ages show.
Call (260) 426-3456 for advanced tickets.