Saturday 16 February 7.45pm
“Widely thought of as the world’s most gifted guitarist” Total Guitar
Drawing on blues, rock, funk and jazz influences among others, award winning musician Preston Reed brings his startlingly innovative style to the Gulbenkian Theatre.
Reed weaves and melds genres, rhythms and textures to produce a signature sound that has earned him world renown for its emotional power and stylistic creativity. His vast range of explosively original music will forever change your expectation of a guitarist as he engages the entire instrument, creating a rock/jazz rhythm section, melody line and chordal accompaniment simultaneously.
Seeing him live, he attacks the guitar with such fervour, such spooky synergy, that all the bodyslaps, polyrhythms, harmonic tickles and his two handed percussive fretboard maul, astonishingly haul out an orchestra you never knew was hidden inside. The word virtuoso doesn't even come close.
Playing an array of guitars from acoustic to electric to classical, there are no fancy gadgets or gimmicky FX - just 6 strings (or occasionally 12), two hands and a daring and innovative musical imagination that crosses all boundaries.
a major musical talent"
"Will drop your jaw" Playboy
Tickets £12 Concs £10
Booking Office 01227 769075
On line bookings www.gulbenkiantheatre.co.uk
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Preston Reed has virtually reinvented how the
acoustic guitar is played. Reed practices a flamboyant "self-invented" style,
characterized by percussive techniques and simultaneous rhythm and melody lines
that dance and ricochet around each other, giving his music a level of
excitement that is unparalleled among today's guitarists.
Playing an array of guitars from acoustic to electric to classical Reeds vast range of explosively original music will forever change your expectation of a guitarist.
First-time listeners find it impossible to believe that they're hearing just the one musician, in real time. Reed attacks the entire instrument in a never-ending search for the orchestra he knows is lurking inside. At full tilt, his fingers, thumbs, fists and hands at once suggest a drummer, keyboardist, bassist and several guitarists at work.
The most impressive thing about Reed's technique, though, is that it doesn't draw attention to itself. His compositions are far from abstract virtuosic displays; even without lyrics he creates vivid, engrossing scenes. Sometimes the effect is almost onomatopoetic. Reed generates visual stimuli with every tweak of his instrument, thus augmenting his wordless compositions with an aura of the poetic. Each tune is a story in itself with a potent, cinematic atmosphere and an almost tangible thread of communication between Preston Reed and the listener.
Reed's entry into this guitar odyssey was
inauspicious enough, his path thereafter largely self-discovered. A few chords
learned from his guitar playing father, a brief, very brief, flirtation with the
ukulele, clandestine practice sessions of his favourite Beatles and Stones songs
on dad's guitar and then a too-strict classical guitar teacher led to premature
At 16, however, Reed heard Jefferson Airplane's rootsy blues offshoot, Hot Tuna. His interest was rekindled big time. Acoustic guitar heroes John Fahey and Leo Kottke were studied, their styles absorbed but not imitated, and at this point things really begin to get interesting because, at 17, Reed, by now precociously proficient, played his first live gig, supporting beat poet Allen Ginsberg at the Smithsonian Institute.
Just getting on a train from his native Armonk in
Determined to make the most of this opportunity, Reed pushed himself to go beyond the standard fingerpicking styles he'd perfected. The result was the beginnings of Reeds startlingly innovative style, with its percussive, two-handed fretboard attack, that you hear today and which has caused guitar luminaries such as Al DiMeola and the late Michael Hedges to describe Reed as "phenomenal" and "inspiring". His playing has spawned a generation of imitators, yet Reed remains one of a kind.
Reed's compositional talents extend to film
soundtracks and prestigious commissions for the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, and
as well as appearances alongside Bonnie Raitt and Linda Ronstadt his major
performances include an historic live satellite broadcast on Turkish National
Television in 1997 with renowned sax player and composer Arif Sag which reached
an audience of 120 million in 17 countries, prompting a flood of international
telephone calls to the station from stunned viewers.
Since 1979, he has recorded thirteen albums and three videos and charmed audiences on three continents. He continues to tour with the same hunger and relish that informs his guitar playing. The secret, he says, is to relax and let the guitar patterns run by themselves. Which explains how, at full tilt, he may sound like a full-on heavy metal band but he still won't have broken sweat.