Classical guitarist will return to Coffee Cottage
By Colin Ellis
Newberg Graphic reporter
Classical guitarist David Rogers will bring his unique blend of jazz and classically inspired compositions to the Coffee Cottage at 7 p.m. Friday.
Rogers has been praised by the New York Times and the Washington Post for his playing, and will make his return at the Coffee Cottage as one of a handful of jazz acts coming through this fall. The Times called him a "prominent guitarist," while the Post praised his "astonishingly florid" improvisations.
The Eugene-based Rogers has regularly played the Coffee Cottage, becoming something a mainstay. He said he routinely plays the Coffee Cottage because he likes the atmosphere of the Hancock Street coffee shop and that it is owned by musicians. Friday will be his seventh appearance at the coffee shop in 2018, with one more planned for the year in November.
"I have enough of a following there that it's usually a really nice setting," he said.
The composer's websites states he blends "classical, jazz, early and world music elements into powerful, moving and virtuosic performances based on both original and traditional repertoire." He has stated in the past that his work is influenced by New York contemporary jazz, especially musicians and guitarists in the tradition of trumpeter Miles Davis. He added he's also influenced by 16th century instrumental music, such as the kind written for lutes.
"I try to have a lot of harmonic color in my pieces, and through the course of the program I try to be very careful with pacing," he said.
Rogers' set lists generally tend to be similar, though he does work to incorporate new songs and compositions; he said he tries to have variety and contrasts in his performances. In addition to his own compositions, he does some cover songs, including compositions of Leonard Cohen and Rolling Stones songs. He's also working to add Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush" to his repertoire.
"For my own arrangements I look for things I can add a lot," he said.
While he does incorporate The Beatles in sets from time to time, he said he won't change the compositions for those.
"My set kind of develops kind of slowly and changes slowly," he said. "A lot of time it's the same thing, but I do like to try things out for that audience, probably more so than I do for other venues. That type of venue is a good vehicle for trying new stuff out. I have a couple of new compositions this time that I'll be trying out and seeing if they fly."
Rogers said his musical tastes and style developed from growing up in the Detroit, Mich., area. While there, he said the city had a very rich musical and artistic tradition, such as the tradition of Motown, which was a generator for great music. He added that in high school he alternated weekly between classical and jazz guitar lessons, and that a local university brought in talented lute players for audiences to hear as well.
"That was wonderful just to have that exposure to great playing and great musicianship," he said. "It's a lot of where I grew up and what was available."
Coffee Cottage will also feature upcoming performances by Joel Martin on Oct. 19 and the George Fox University Jazz Jam on Oct. 26.
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