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Guitarist Sinan Bakir’s Luxuriant Solo Ideas Take Root At Middletown’s Buttonwood Tree

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Guitarist/composer Sinan Bakir, a Nutmeg State transplant who’s originally from Ankara, Turkey, has set Gold Medal standards of excellence in expression in recent years with his two acclaimed recordings and live performances in many venues stretching from Connecticut to New York.

You’ll get a chance to hear Bakir up close and personal in a solo electric guitar performance at 8:00 pm on Saturday, January 10, in the cozy, casual intimacy of the performance gallery space at The Buttonwood Tree Performing Arts and Cultural Center at 605 Main Street in Middletown.

Bakir’s freshman disc, On My Way (2009), basked in critical acclaim and international airplay. So did his follow-up release, Tales and Stories (2012), which, defying the so-called sophomore jinx that sometimes shadows promising athletes and musicians, was also greeted with wide and deep praise, both for his warm, lyrical playing, as well as for his original compositions. As an improvising musician and composer, Bakir's evocative sound, with its savory blend of jazz, contemporary music influences and ancient Turkish traditions, is subtly layered with elements of the Empire State and the Ottoman Empire. It’s a subtle synthesis (or Sinanthesis) of the old and the new, of the Big Apple, Hartford, and Ankara, infusing the music with a sound immediately recognizable and distinctly all its own.

Instead of serving the more common, bland brand of formulaic fusion — the prototypical pablum of jazz/pop/pap and faux, glib globalism — Bakir concocts something new and fresh with his fluent playing and writing. His music resonates with a nuanced aura of mystery verging pleasantly and unpretentiously on the exotic. Along with its subtlety and smartness, it also swings hard and sings with feeling, with solos and compositions unfurling as smooth banners celebrating his signature style’s sense and sensibility.

You may have heard Bakir before in other roles from duo to sideman, and in other venues, everywhere from indoor bistros to al fresco festivals. But with its welcoming, home-like performance area which holds about 50 patrons, The Buttonwood is certainly one of the better forums to really hear and see Sinan the Architect at work, all alone while designing elegantly structured conversations with himself on guitar.

Bakir's repertoire will include selections from his original works, standards, and improvised pieces inspired in the moment at the Buttonwood, a relaxed, inviting spot he’s played in before.

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