Ricardo Silveira – Storyteller

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Ricardo Silveira is one of the finest guitarists in any dialect, be it his own Brazilian ones, or any other. He is much admired by other guitarists for his exquisite technique, lively expression and use of extraordinary dynamics.

To passionate music-lovers and serious fans of music he is also one to be admired and learnt from. His record Storyteller, which was originally recorded in 1995 has been re-mastered in 2009 and appears to have been re-released. And it is just as well. This is a fine recording and finds the guitarist playing with several groups of musicians and in several scenarios all of which have extremely broad-based appeal. Throughout the record, Silveira’s technique is outstanding. His lines have a breathtaking sweep and appear to follow each other like wave after wave of music, each dramatically or subtly different from the other. In this way Silveira always keeps the music fresh and forthright.

There may be some misgivings that there is none of the Brazilian folkloric element in the content; no choro, samba or Bossa Nova here, but that may be deliberate. In keeping the music non-denominational, so to speak, Silveira in fact is making a point that the soul and its emotions are sweepingly universal. This has always been a common thread in most of Silveira’s music throughout his repertoire. So what makes this record unique is the performance of the guitarist on both electric and acoustic guitars as well as the choice of material.

Silveira has always been known for his compositional capabilities as well as his dexterity with the guitar. This record features some of his best known work. His classic song, “Francesca” is probably one of Silveira’s best-known compositions. The chart features a gorgeous melody that flows in a diaphanous manner. It also features layer upon layer of harmony that Silveira applies to the melody as it wafts along. His ability to build the harmonic architecture of the song is simply staggering. In fact Silveira does this with such finesse that the song becomes a glorious piece of work resembling a classic frieze in all its finery. There is also the matter of the music’s extraordinary dynamism and movement. It is also a tender portrait skilfully rendered by a guitarist who is able to conjure enormous amounts of warmth and emotion, which transforms the piece from a sweet melody into a work charged with feeling and deep expression.

“Storyteller” is another fine composition and has a wonderful narrative element in the harmonic progressions that propel the piece, giving it a sense of movement; even propulsion as it passes from chorus to chorus towards an inevitable dénouement. The music in this chart creates a wholly unique character which goes on to make the music that follows. This is actually the kinetic and ever-changing persona of Ricardo Silveira himself, who enters into the core of the songs that he creates. In this regard Silveira is much like Pat Metheny, who is so much a part of his unique sound that it is impossible to separate the musician from the music. This is what makes Silveira so unique in the cluttered world of guitar players. It is this extraordinary character that exalts the music of this record, making it one of the finest documents of guitar music to be re-released in 2012.

Tracks: Francesca (featuring Jeff Beal); Upon A Time (Interlude); Storyteller (featuring Rique Pantoja); Island Magic (featuring Justo Almario); Still Think Of You; The Puzzle; Fountains (featuring Justo Almario & Jeff Beal); After The Rain; Always There; That Day In Tahiti; Upon A Time (Reprise).

Personnel: Ricardo Silveira: acoustic guitar (1 – 5, 8, 10, 11), electric guitar (1, 3, 8, 10), guitars (6, 7, 9), keyboards (4), vocals (3, 10); Justo Almario: saxophone and flute (4); Bill Cantos: keyboards (1, 5, 7 , 8, 9); Marcel East: keyboards (1, 6); Rique Pantoja: keyboards, synth programming (3); Renato Neto: keyboards (6, 8); Mitchel Forman: keyboards, synth bass (10); Jeff Beal: trumpet (1), flugelhorn (7); Alfonso Johnson: bass (1, 7); Keith Jones: bass (3, 5, 8); Armand Sabal Lecco: bass (4, 6, 9); Mike Shapiro: drums (1, 3); Joe Heredia: drums ( 6), bass (6); Tris Imboden: drums (5, 7); Dave Weckl: drums (9); Walfredo Reyes: drums and percussion (10); Luis Conte: percussion (1, 4, 7); Meia Noite: percussion (6, 8); Eduardo Chermont: drum programming (1, 6, 9).

Ricardo Silveira – Official Website: www.ricardosilveira.com

Label: Adventure Music

Release date: October 2012