In Brasil, a country in which its musicians are almost as famous as its footballers, the name of Carlos Barbosa-Lima is uttered in reverential tones by today’s finest guitarists and small wonder why. Mr Barbosa-Lima’s playing embodies the very essence of the instrument’s passion and fire. His style of playing is utterly distinctive and often idiosyncratic. At its best his sound is ravishing and magnificent. Part of the reason is his ability to project charisma by the way that he appears to not simply play, but choreograph his performances – on studio or on stage. This is significant as few guitarists in Brasil or, indeed elsewhere as well, have the ability to project themselves the way the great Carlos Barbosa-Lima does. It’s hardly surprising why…
On the rather diffidently, yet appropriately entitled Delicado, Mr Barbosa-Lima shows off his unsurpassed musicianship; the soul, passion and feeling that he puts into each of the fifteen songs by celebrated Carioca composers is absolutely breathtaking. His is a uniquely beautiful sound, through which he is able to achieve an incredible variety of colours. In his hands and at his fingertips the guitar becomes a small orchestra. It is polyphonic. Every string is a different colour; a different voice. In songs such as Ernesto Nazareth’s classic “Odeon” and Baden Powell’s “Canto de Ossanha” he brings back the melodies’ beauty, warmth and lyricism – and in the latter song – its shimmering darkness raising the fret board to heights that of a not-so-miniature keyboard.
Meanwhile on Luiz Bonfá’s melancholic masterpiece “ Manhã De Carnaval”, the gorgeous melody “Interrogando” by the 20th century legendary Brasilian composer João Pernambuco and later on Heitor Villa-Lobo’s “Tristeza” Mr Barbosa-Lima reveals his huge vocabulary of sounds and effects, which combine to make his instrument sound as big as an ensemble. These range from harmonics and pizzicato to technique exotica such as “nut-side” and “nail-sizzle” or “bi-one tapping” (plus a battery of percussion possibilities making it appear as if his guitar also comes with a drum set attached.
On this date Mr Barbosa-Lima has been accompanied by his long-time guitarist and friend, Larry Del Casale, whose work enables the Brasilian maestro to expand the tonal palette on this repertoire.
Also on several pieces he is joined by a trio of great Brasilian musicians: Duduka Da Fonseca, who is heard in the uncommon role of a percussion colourist (rather than on his customary drum set) together with the inimitable contrabassist Nilson Matta who has served Brasilian music and Jazz for decades, as well as the masterful pianist Helio Alves. To complete this wonderfully vivid picture, the recorded sound by engineers Leslie Bloome, Zé Luis Olivera and Iuri Oriente, is radiant, clear and detailed.
Track list – 1: Tico Tico; 2: Delicado; 3: Samba de Orfeu; 4: A Felicidade; 5: Odeon; 6: Manhã De Carnaval; 7: Interrogando; 8: Feitiço da Vila; 9: Samba Do Avião; 10: Sambolero; 11: Chovendo na Roseira; 12: Prelude to Canto de Ossanha; 13: Canto de Ossanha; 14: Eu Não Existo Sem Você; 15: Tristeza
Personnel – Carlos Barbosa-Lima: guitar; Larry Del Casale: guitar (1 – 4, 6, 9, 11, 14); Duduka Da Fonseca: percussion (1 – 4, 9, 11 – 13); Nilson Matta: bass (1 – 4, 9, 11, 14); Helio Alves: piano (1 – 4, 9, 11)
Released – 2019
Label – ZOHO Music (ZM201904)
Runtime – 49:43