The near falsetto vocals of Chico Pinheiro perfectly offset the voluptuous music that he has created on There’s a Storm Inside. However narrow his vocal range, Pinheiro is a master storyteller and he weaves his lines like an elaborate tapestry, a sort of patchwork quilt that tells the story his way. Pinheiro has a softness that seems to accelerate and retard his very breath. This increases the dramaturgy of his vocalastics in both English and Portuguese, but more so in the latter, which when spoken or sung has those gliding vowels—rising and falling diphthongs—that make for the more sensuous nature of vocal music in tongues descended from the Romance languages. Ironically this also makes Pinheiro something of an astute interpreter of music that borders on the modern troubadour tradition. Small wonder why his music fits like a glove with some of Brazil’s finest lyricists— the celebrated poet of the Musica Popular Brasileira/ Tropicalia tradition, Paulo César Pinheiro (no relation) being one of them.
On this album Chico Pinheiro shows himself to be a mature composer with a talent for referencing finer emotions related to sadness and love. He is, of course, being a classic Brasileiro when he makes music like this and it is hard not to see how close he is in talent to composers that have created the Brazilian musical universe. Pinheiro’s music is a fine mixture of the folk rhythms of the Brazilian hinterland as well as the rhythms and colors that dapple the urban landscape. Sometimes these collide and the result is stupendous. “Mamulengo” and, of course, the classic, “Sertão Wi Fi” are perfect examples of Pinheiro’s prodigious talent for lyricism. “Boca De Siri,” “Flor De Fogo” and “A Sul Do Teu Olhar” are three collaborations with the great Paulo César Pinheiro and the two men seem to be alter egos of each other as they delve deep into the territory of the emotional psyche as they turn to music and poetry to give vent to their feelings. However, it is ultimately Chico Pinheiro’s solo compositions that are truly memorable as well.
Pinheiro’s music also gets an unusual lift from the bass of Paulo Pauleli, whose stupendous melodicism and harmonic brilliance provide a stunning palette of sounds for Pinheiro to wrap his voice around. Pauleli is also the master of dancing round the root notes of the chords he plays and his interpretation of the tonal values of chords puts him in the vaunted company of men like Oscar Pettiford and Ray Brown, like him, masters of the bass violin. Pinheiro is also a self taught and ingenious guitarist, who accompanies himself with horn-like lines on the guitar and adheres himself to the finest guitar tradition of Laurindo Almeida, Baden Powell and other great Brazilians.
On this his fourth album, Chico Pinheiro shows off his wizardry as a guitarist on charts such as “Our Love is Here to Stay,” George Gershwin’s great ballad, making this a perfect debut for the Sunnyside label.
Tracks: Our Love is Here to Stay; Boca de Siri; There’s a Storm Inside; Mamulengo; Recriando A Criação; Flor De Fogo; A Sul Do Teu Olhar; Sertão Wi Fi; Um Filme; As; Valsa No. 8; Buritizais.
Personnel: Chico Pinheiro: acoustic guitar, vocal (1, 2, 4 – 6, 8, 9, 12); Paulo Casalans: acoustic piano (1, 5, 6, 10, 12), Fender Rhodes (10); Paulo Pauleli: acoustic bass (1, 2, 4, 7, 9, 11), mouth percussion (1); Marcelo Mariano: electric bass (2, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12); Edu Ribeiro (drums (1 – 6, 8 – 10, 12); Marco Bosco: percussion (2, 4, 5, 10, 12), triangle (8); Dianne Reeves: vocal (3, 10, 12); Bob Mintzer: tenor saxophone (4, 6, 10), bass clarinet (4); Luciana Alves: vocal (5, 7); Zé Piloco: zambumba, vocal (8); Lula Alencar: accordion; Marcos Spirito: ganza; Nailor “Proveta” Azevedo: clarinet; Otmaro Ruiz: electric piano (12); Strings: Alexandra Ramirez: violin (1, 3, 11); Fernando Travassos: violin (1, 3, 11); Flavio Geraldini: violin (1, 3, 11); Adrianna de Mello: violin (1, 3, 11); Mauricio Takeda: violin (1, 3, 11); Octavio “Teco” Scoss Nicolai: violin (1, 3, 11); Heitor Hideo Fujinami: violin (1, 3, 11); Alex Braga Ximenes: violin (1, 3, 11); Ricardo Bem Hoja: violin (1, 3, 11); Luiz Amato: violin (1, 3, 11); Roberta Marcinkowski: viola (1, 3, 11); Alexandra de Leon: viola (1, 3, 11); Fabio Tagliaferri: viola (1, 3, 11); Gustava Lesso: cello (1, 3, 11); Sergio Schreiber: cello (1, 3, 11); Patricia Ribeiro: cello (1, 3, 11).
Chico Pinheiro on the web: www.chicopinheiro.com.br
Review written by: Raul da Gama