The sweet sounds of samba and boss nova music filled the Jamesport Meeting House Saturday as it hosted a guitar festival that opened with a master class by Jason Ennis of New York City and Richard Miller, a Doctor of Music Theory at Columbia University, both virtuosos in seven-string Brazilian guitar rhythms and melodies.
Mr. Miller said Brazilian music “combines all the best; incredible melodies of Portuguese heritage, Italian opera heritage and the extensive melodies and hypnotic groove of African influence with rich harmonies of the jazz tradition. On top of it all it has lyrics that are true poetry.”
The meeting room is a classic concert hall in shape and size, according to board member Richard Wines.
“It is a shoe box shape-twice as long as it is wide and has a twenty-foot high ceiling with pressed tin on it,” he said. The pressed tin ceiling was probably added about a hundred years ago, Mr. Wines added. Before that the room was open to the rafters.
East End Arts music teacher Stan Wright of Riverhead sat in the back of the room and commented that he had played in the meeting house before but never listened from the back of the room.
“The acoustics in here are perfect,” he said. “It sounds great.”
The festival was organized by Peter Susser of South Jamesport, a Meeting House board member who also serves on the concert program committee. He teaches music at Columbia University and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and is a colleague of Mr. Miller. He said guitars “bring people together and it’s a good multi-faceted event.”
At the master class, the attendees learned about the basic rhythms, beats and melodies of Brazilian Samba and got tips on playing in that style. After that they were free to view handmade custom guitars on display by Bill Bonanzinga of Bay Shor, and some antique instruments owned by Rothman Guitars of Southold. Mr. Bonanzinga has been making custom guitars for 21 years.
At 4 p.m. an open mic-style style guitar recital featured four guitarist performing blues, jazz, folk and percussive finger styleby Bruce MacDonald of Jamesport, Peter Berely of South Jamesport, David Thompson of Mt. Sinai and Joshua Owens of Brooklyn.
The evening concert featured an energizing and romantic classical and jazz repertoire from Brazil on two seven-string guitars. Mr. Miller and Mr. Ennis are world-renowned performers of Choro de Manha music, a Brazilian version of ragtime that is the root of samba and bossa nova and considered by many to be the “soul” of Brazilian music. The two performed pieces by renown Brazilian composers, including Heitor Villa-Lobos and Antonio Carlos Jobim.