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Brasilian Report

Danilo Brito: Self-Titled Album

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Danilo-Brito-LJNThe Brasilian mandolinist Danilo Brito has shown himself to be a musician and composer of considerable talent. This, self-titled album is further evidence of his immense gifts and his innate ability to also be a gifted musical collaborator. This is a recording that was released almost a year ago, but it pays to draw attention to it again, seeing as it received scant attention when it was released in Brasil in November last year. The Brasilian labels seem to care little for the rest of the world even when it means promoting artists the like of which the world will never get to hear otherwise. It is a mystery that will continue to baffle those in the rest of the Americas. Thankfully, though, I had this copy sent to me by the ever-wonderful impresario Michael Grofsorean.

Danilo Brito Self-titled AlbumThe musical content of Danilo Brito’s recording comprises masterfully written choro in the classic vein – nine songs in all. However, the album is rather short and leaves you all but begging for more. Such is the brilliance of the compositions and the manner in which these memorable works are rendered by this superb ensemble. The mandolin is very closely recorded. The glorious sound is superbly captured and this is especially wondrous as the instruments on the album are all stringed instruments so to get this kind of nuanced separation is something to be marvelled at, not the least because the magnificent tone of Danilo Brito’s instrument is thrust into the limelight.

While one may be critical of the fact that this is a very short album, what is beyond criticism is Danilo Brito’s playing, which is of the highest order. One has only to listen to the sweet-toned opening bars of the first chart “Sobrou Meio”, the pellucid fluency of “Valsa Vermelha” or the complex colouristic palette that Mr. Brito brings to the six other original miniatures. You will be held breathless by Danilo Brito’s superior musical and technical gifts, which allow his personality to sing through music of sublime taste and intelligence. Both mandolin nerds and discerning music aficionados will be taken aback by the skill and sensitivity of this musician who is not lurking in the shadows of the great Hamilton de Holanda much longer.

This disc by one of the not-so-well-known- mandolinists that seem to now dot the Brasilian musical landscape deserves the widest possible audience. Good thing that this disc is still available on the ubiquitous Amazon. And, if the truth were to be known, I enjoyed every minute of it. Not only because it was like discovering a nugget of gold, but because it is just so good a disc as any from the pool of musical geniuses of Brasil that seems to be growing without anyone noticing.

Track List: Sobrou Meio; Maria Silva; Pega Ratão; Valsa Vermelha; Generoso; Foi Ontem; Tica; Impetuoso; Madrigal Merencório.

Personnel: Danilo Brito: bandolim and tenor guitar; Carlos Moura: 7-string guitar; Wesley Vasconcelos: guitar; Lucas Arantas: cavaquinho; Roberto Figueroa: pandeiro; Aragão: afoxé (6); André Mehmari: piano (9).

Label: Orpheu Music
Release date: November 2014
Website: danilobrito.com.br
Running time: 30:05
Buy music on: amazon

About Danilo Brito

Danilo Brito is a mandolin soloist and composer important to the world of music both for his extraordinary musicianship and for the unique musical and cultural tradition he promulgates through his work – the Choro music of Brasil. Danilo’s ability in music is beyond technical skill and can be defined as true art, feeling and transcendence. Read more…

Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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Brasilian Report

Rique Pantoja: Live in Los Angeles

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Rique Pantoja

The West Coast of the United States has had a rather long – and celebrated – association with the music of Brasil. Rique Pantoja is tapping into the Brasilliance on his Live in Los Angeles album. Moacir Santos created by far the greatest series music when he moved to Pasadena, California from Brasil in 1967. He quickly began turning heads with his spectacular take on the lineage of the [post bebop] cool, melding it with the music of his home-state, Pernambuco, in his very singular mix of other dance forms from Brasil. Other influential Brasilian musicians whose artistry collided with West Coast Cool were Cesar Camargo Mariano, Airto and Flora Purim [when she was there once upon a time] to name a few Brasilians who influenced the North American West Coast sound.

Rique Pantoja: Live in Los Angeles
Rique Pantoja: Live in Los Angeles

Rique Pantoja, by virtue of his extraordinary musicianship, his long-limbed compositions that seem to roll along with their exquisite, naturally danceable rhythms, can also lay claim to this august line of musicians. His music, captured on this beautifully-recorded album seems to express the sheer joy – the alegria – of being alive and in love. The composer [and pianist] seems to indulge fully his predisposition for dreamscapes as he is on stage, allowing the lyrical saxophonist [and flutist] Steve Tavaglione to stretch and take extraordinary melodic and harmonic excursions with winding, lyrical lines of his own seemingly intoxicated by the enraptured emotions ensconced in the music.

The pianist’s poetic fantasies – such as we listen to on “Da Baiana” – evoke images of voluptuous eloquence in the form of a sultry, baiana, rhythmically hip-swishing her way down along fine white sand of the Coconut Coast in Bahia. With rippling keyboard grooves, Mr Pantoja conjures vivid, lifelike imagery of surf beating around us, while Mr Tavaglione’s flute, with cascading lines from the guitar of Ricardo Silveira wail and moan and whistle melodically. Meanwhile the percussionist – Cassio Duarte – and drummer Joel Taylor – re-create the sizzle and steamy seduction of baiana’s rolling rhythm along with the deep rumble of the bass played with extraordinary facility by Jimmy Earl.

“Arpoador” is one of the finest songs on the album that had already mesmerised the audience with its tintinnabulation of the keyboards introducing the opening strains of Mr Pantoja’s magical and mystical song. Even under the Brasilliance of “1000 Watts” the audience seems to be under the hypnotic spell of the music from then on… a spell that is only broken when Rique Pantoja and this marvelous ensemble gently awaken them with the balladic – and balletic – aural dreamscape of “Pra Lili”, to close a beautiful set that offers an astonishing insight into Mr Pantoja’s artistic conception.

Tracks – 1: Arpoador; 2: Julinho; 3: 1000 Watts; 4: Da Baiana; 5: Bebop Kid; 6: Que Loucura; 7: Morena; 8: Pra Lili

Musicians – Ricardo Silveira: guitar; Steve Tavaglione: saxophones and flute; Rique Pantoja: keyboards and vocals; Jimmy Earl: bass; Joel Taylor: drums; Cassio Duarte: percussion

Released – 2022
Label – Moondo Music [MDO-2022
Runtime – 1:08:13

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