With a calm sense of personal confidence, poise, and graciousness, Brazilian classical guitarist Marcus Tardelli strolled onto the Recital Hall stage at the Simons Center for the Arts at the College of Charleston with his acoustic guitar in hand and took a seat at center stage. It was the first of eight concerts (two per evening) running from Wed. June 7 through Sat. June 10, marking the conclusion of a rousing Wachovia Jazz series.
Clad in a sharp, all-black outfit, the 29-year-old musician proceeded to absolutely dazzle the large audience with a variety of Latin/Brazilian styles (samba, bossa nova, baião) and unique arrangements — and an impressive technique and form. He earned a few hearty laughs as well, with his valiant attempts at announcing his program in English (“I hope you think, aahhh, my music is 1,000 … aahhh, 2,000 percent better my … aahhh, English!” he stated with a wide grin after the first selection).
Known among Latin/World music fans for his work in the Brazilian ensemble The Maogani Quartet, Tardelli is regarded as one of the finest guitarists of his country. He recently recorded a collection of songs and “interpretations” based on the music of acclaimed Brazilian composer and guitarist Guinga (who played last year’s Wachovia Jazz series) and released them on his new debut solo album, Unha e Carne.
The concert featured most of the collection, many of which sounded like two or three guitarists playing simultaneously. The program also featured his own renditions of a few Northeastern Brazilian folk tunes, and, most impressively, several transcriptions from piano to guitar.
Obviously, his high technical proficiency came from years of study and practice with classical guitar. His arrangements and delivery reflected a jazz influence, however, and he altered the pace and dynamics of the set with ease.
His efforts to reproduce the sounds of other instruments on the guitar must have led to an unusual technique — an approach to playing in which he uses his left thumb to hit lower notes in a chord (physically, it’s a pretty tough stretch), finger-picks in a mix of styles, and occasionally mutes the strings with his right hand.
In an interview with City Paper prior to his arrival in Charleston, Tardelli mentioned the idea of “waking up the emotion inside of people” during his first time in the U.S. On stage, he introduced and described several pieces as “emotional” compositions. Following through with a rhythmic fluidity and melodic complexity, he made his point quite well.
MARCUS TARDELLI • Spoleto Festival USA’s Wachovia Jazz Series • Wed. June 7 through Sat. June 10 at 7 and 9 p.m. • $25 • Recital Hall, Albert Simons Center, 54 St. Philip St. • 579-3100
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