Six Guitars Featuring Chase Padgett

Highly Recommended for all guitar players...and everyone else, too! I saw this very intriguing performance Thursday night at the Downstairs Cabaret on Windsor Street near the Eastman Theater. With no intention of writing a review, I suddenly find myself at the keyboard!


Chase Padgett single-handed (well, with two hands!) personifies six different styles of guitar playing. Not only does he capture the essence of each genre, but also the personal character of the player including his dialect. He does all this all by himself in an intimate setting on a small stage with a few props. Just when you begin to get comfortable with one character and identify with him, he is suddenly gone and replaced by an entirely different individual presenting his own point of view which can be quite shocking at times. Chase exhibits a thorough knowledge of what is going on in the guitar world and our culture in general, and has a good grasp on our history as well.

One particularly interesting facet of the performance was the reaction of each character to some of the other genres of music generally showing a healthy respect for another person’s art even when it is not completely understood. After all, why is a simple “G” Chord not good enough for a jazz performer? Interspersed with the performance was some banter and joking with the audience much to everyone’s delight, especially those who escaped the barbs! Occasionally Chase departed from his prepared material and created pieces at the request of the audience.

I would like to have seen different types of instrument to match the music, but as Chase explained to me afterward, the logistics of transporting, tuning and manipulating multiple instruments on stage would be daunting. His solution was to use an electric guitar furnished with the electronics to mimic the sound of each style of guitar. This was operated by a foot pedal mechanism as needed. The effect was astonishingly realistic.

Chase’s concept was truly intelligent, innovative and illustrative of various aspects of American culture. He appropriately concluded the performance with a haunting rendition of a well known piece pulling together the various strands of music and inviting unity in all areas of our life. You will have to go to the performance to see what I mean! It is playing now through October 3. Don’t miss it!

—R. Taglieri

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