There were plenty of guitar fireworks Saturday night at UCLA's Royce Hall. Nothing rare about six-string pyrotechnics, of course, except that in this case they were generated by a pair of solo guitarists -- Badi Assad and David Broza -- without benefit of electric instruments, feedback, synths or backup bands.
Both are superb instrumentalists capable of creating an astonishing panoply of sounds, rhythms and sheer drama. But, although they found common ground in an exuberant encore duet, the similarities ended there.
Broza, an icon of Israeli music, has drawn comparisons to Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Singing in English, Spanish and Hebrew, he accompanied himself with a surge of guitar sounds delivered with the force of an aural tsunami.
His tendency to use powerful, double-time strumming recalled yet another influence -- Richie Havens. And, on the English-language ballad "Somebody Make Me Laugh," the similarity to James Taylor was close enough -- in sound and phrasing -- to approach impersonation.