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Brasilian Report

Ricardo Silveira – Até Amanhã (Adventure Music – 2010)

The music of guitarist Ricardo Silveira flows—especially on Até Amanhã/’Til Tomorrow–flows like an interminable river into the proverbial ocean of sound where a world of music mixes and mingles. Yet the idea that he is only marginally Brazilian is anathema. Silveira’s music ripples and gushes with a forceful swagger recalling, at times, the immensity force Rio Negro. That is when his phrases and lines bubble like with liquefying, steamy splendour […]

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The music of guitarist Ricardo Silveira flows—especially on Até Amanhã/’Til Tomorrow–flows like an interminable river into the proverbial ocean of sound where a world of music mixes and mingles. Yet the idea that he is only marginally Brazilian is anathema. Silveira’s music ripples and gushes with a forceful swagger recalling, at times, the immensity force Rio Negro. That is when his phrases and lines bubble like with liquefying, steamy splendour. At other times the guitarist may interrupt his free-flowing ideas with a dynamic that could well feature a stabbing ferocity of well-chosen single notes, triads or chords. But this only serves to frame and accentuate the fluidity of his vocal phrases.

On this album, Silveira’s musical language is intertwined with superbly arranged woodwinds, reeds and brass instruments that play staccato and legato as the score demands, with concert-hall, almost symphonic coloration. Throughout the proceedings, however, there is the persistent reminder that his beloved country is never far from his thoughts, especially when clarinets and flutes play in counterpoint with percussion that treats the ear to the maddening acceleration of the samba.

Silveira is closer in sensibility to a pianist, horn player or even a vocalist than he is in lineage to a guitarist such as say Baden Powell, but that legendary figure in the Brazilian guitar pantheon may sometimes flavour his thoughts and works indeed. Lately the guitarist also seems to thrive in the larger, more orchestral environment. With wind instruments to dapple color onto his musical landscape as he makes it Silveira emerges with stellar grace, bringing the guitar once again into the limelight it seems to miss out on in music as a lead instrument, every once and awhile. The manner in which he introduces the track, “Rocket’s Tail” is a master class in guitar melody, harmony and rhythm all rolled into one. The opening lines are repeated throughout the song and its end, with the same line, suitably embellished with reeds and woodwinds is truly spectacular.

The album shimmers throughout, each song appearing to splash and glitter where the last one left off. At times—especially between the title track and “You Can Get What You Want”—is typical of this almost skipping-stones effect that Silveira brings to the music on this album. It is measure of the uncanny ability of his musicians to also pick up on this suite like connection between the songs. His group of musicians—bassist, Romulo Gomes, drummer Andre Tandeta and the chorus of horns, reeds and woodwinds that appear throughout the record respond magnificently to the task. Add to that the “pianistic” guitar of Silveira and there appears no need for a piano at all. The magnificent humming of the instrumentation on “Dois Irmã” and the hop, skip and jump of that track onto the next is another spectacular attempt to string the songs together like a glittering necklace.

There is something elementally the similar between Ricardo Silveira and trumpeter Claudio Roditi, both old band mates and once co-composers as well. Both musicians have melded their “Brazilian-ness” so completely into the idiom of jazz so as to make for a unique new sound—one that fuses the shuffle of the samba in with the swing of jazz so as to make their music sing with a new voice, unheard of either in the music of Brazil or the idiom of American so-called jazz music either.

Tracks: Rocket’s Tail; Até Amanhã You Can Get What You Want; Dois Irmã O Canto do Pico-Pau; Good To Play; West 26th; Pela Biera do Mar; Let’s Move On; Bahia Drive; Portal da Cor.

Personnel: Ricardo Silveira: guitars, horn arrangements (6, 10,11); Romulo Gomes: acoustic and electric basses; Andre Tandeta: drums; Claudio Sergio Santos: clarinet, bass clarinet (1); Marcelo Martins: flutes, tenor saxophone (1 – 9), horn arrangements (4, 6); Jessé Sadoc: trumpet, flugelhorn (2 – 11), horns arrangements (3, 6, 10); Christiano Alves: clarinet, bass clarinet (2, 8); Leo Gandelman: flutes (8), tenor saxophone (9); Jota Moraes: marimba (10); Vittor Santos: trombone (2, 5, 7 – 9), woodwinds and horns arrangements (1, 2, 5, 7 – 9).

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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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