Tim Sparks was the guitarist in Rio Nido, whose swinging classic jazz and pop material made them one of the Twin Cities' most popular bands of the '80s. He established himself as an incomparable finger-style picker and groundbreaking arranger, stretching from the country blues and gospel of his native North Carolina to a vast array of international genres. Finally, he created revolutionary versions of traditional Jewish music for John Zorn's Tzadik label. In 1992 a German label released Sparks's stunning solo guitar adaptation of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker Suite, which he has just reissued (for the first time domestically) on his own ToneWood label. For this performance, Sparks will play The Nutcracker material as well as Balkan Dreams Suite (his adaptation of Balkans folk dances), which constitutes the second half of the album, plus some country blues, a smattering of Tzadik stuff, and maybe something from his ongoing project of adapting Russian composers Prokofiev, Shostakovich, and Stravinsky for guitar. Another outstanding and adventurous Minnesota guitarist, Dean Magraw, has been added to the show as a special guest.
Wed., Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m., 2012