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  • chrisdumigan

Laurindo Almeida, Carlos Barbosa-Lima & Charlie Byrd : Music of the Brazilian Masters : CD

NAZARETH: Escorregando: VIANNA: Ainda Me Recordo; Rosa: BARROSO: Baia: ALMEIDA: Didi: GNATTALI: Retratos Pixinguinha; Retratos Ernesto Nazareth; Retratos Anacleto Medeiros; Invocacion to Shango: VILLA – LOBOS: Veleiro (from Forest of the Amazon):CARLOS JOBIM: O Boto: MIGNONE: Valsa de Esquina No8; Modinha: VIANNA / LACERDA: Vou Vivendo: BYRD: Weekend Cruise to Catalina: TRZETRZELEWSKA/ WHITE/ROSS: Promises.

Laurindo Almeida,Carlos Barbosa – Lima and Charlie Byrd.

Concord Picante: CCD4389

This set was recorded in 1989 from three of our greatest guitar masters, with the use occasionally of a nice backing section when the music requires it. It is beautifully recorded, being very warm and emotive throughout.

The actual music performed is full of variety and although some of the composers’ names might not be known to everybody, there isn’t a bad track on this album. It opens with Ernesto Nazareth’s Escorregando aided and abetted by a string bass. This is a lovely friendly piece of writing that is a superb opening track that sets the scene nicely as the next track, Vianna’s Ainda Me Recordo proves. It really benefits from the multiple guitars and again the string bass playing. Vianna’s other piece Rosa, is gentler and a tad slower but again a wonderful piece of guitar music. Barroso’s Baia has a more definite dance element to it, and one of the highlights so far.

Then we get Laurindo Almeida’s own piece Didi. Having some across a great deal of this great man’s original works and arrangements over the decades, I wasn’t surprised to find how lovely a piece it actually is, very gentle, melodic, and with some fine harmony work. Then we get Radames Gnattali’s three Retratos (Photographs) of famous musicians. This man’s music always has a lot to say and these pieces here are no exception, being the ideal cross- over of Jazz and Latin. His other piece Invocacion to Shango is more jumpy, slightly unusual in its odd rhythms and harmonies but a fine foil to some of the other tracks here. Villa – Lobos’ piece Veleiro is from a huge orchestral work Forest of the Amazon, but this arrangement works really well and you would never know its origins from this performance here. O Boto, a piece by Carlos Jobim is full of odd harmonic work, and definitely leans more to jazz than some of the other pieces here. Valsa de Esquinha No8 by Mignone is a true waltz that has les of the Latin rhythms that a lot of the other tracks have, but the piece is lovely, with an emotive little melody and some nice harmonies. His other work Modinha is slow, and sad and quite different from the previous one. The Latin rhythms return with Vou Vivendo with its attractive bouncy style, aided and abetted once more by the double bass. Charlie Byrd’s only piece here Weekend Cruise to Catalina begins slow and seriously, but picks up its rhythms towards the middle with some interesting and pleasant question/answer work from the guitars. At the end the slow introduction returns and it closes as gently as it began. The final track Promises is upbeat and a fun closer to what has been a really lovely album full of great playing, wonderful sounds and a nice clear recording. This is a must for anyone who loves this style of music.

Chris Dumigan

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