Chico Pinheiro’s album City of Dreams – so appropriately entitled for 2020 – is spectacular and proves that even in a very crowded field [especially for guitarists in Brasil] the prodigiously gifted musician and guitarist has some unique new things to say. Even more to the point is the fact that the fascinating young guitarist says them with complete naturalness, for there is nothing contrived or attention-seeking about his approach to either his instrument or, indeed about his music itself. His traversal of this repertoire whether on electric or acoustic guitar is appealingly elegant, luscious and quite spellbinding for all the right reasons.
Where many would be tempted to dive headlong into virtuoso excursions of an instrument they may know well, Chico Pinheiro is extremely circumspect while still delivering considerable virtuosity at the same time. Throughout this breathtakingly fresh repertoire Mr Pinheiro strikes a compelling balance between the extreme registers of the guitar, often bringing out the harmonies available to guitarists in the lower registers with uncommon detail and emphasis. His development of the rapt – almost mystical – elements of “City of Dreams” is gorgeous; and the ethereal nature of “Up in the Air” is both finely-etched and deeply-thought out.
Those two songs bookend a rather marvelous collection of songs that course through the rest of the album; their melodies flowing diaphanously, woven into often miraculously conceived harmonies, pulsating through dynamic rhythms throughout. Everywhere each phrase feels carefully considered yet part of a much greater whole the cumulative pictures of which are inevitably revealed with a finely-tuned sense of the dramatic. There is a constant sense of warmth in the detail of Mr Pinheiro’s playing and this is captured in the superb sound of this recording.
Mr Pinheiro is surrounded by a most wonderful selection of musicians – pianist Tiago Costa, who knows exactly when to lighten chordal events with deftly introduced sequences either through the radiance of a handful of notes on the Fender Rhodes, or judicious intervention with his keyboard synthesizer; and the mighty combination of the gravitas and ingenuity of bassist Bruno Migotto and wondrous percussion colours of Edu Ribeiro. Chris Potter comes in to add a sense of the momentous on “Long Short Story” and “Encantando”. Naturally the effect is exquisite. This is –all in all– an utterly absorbing set that discloses something new and astonishing at every turn.
63rd Annual Grammy Awards Nominee · Best Latin Jazz Album
Track list – 1: City of Dreams; 2; Interlude; 3: Long Story Short; 4: Estrada Real; 5: Gesture; 6: Invisible Lights; 7: Encantando; 8: Theme; 9: Vila Madalena; 10: Farol; 11: Up In The Air
Personnel – Chico Pinheiro: guitar [1 – 3, 5, 6, 8 – 11], acoustic guitar [4, 7] and vocals [4, 7]; Tiago Costa: piano, Fender Rhodes [3, 5, 9, 11] and keyboards [1, 4, 6, 7, 11]; Bruno Migotto: contrabasse 1, 4, 5, 7 – 9, 11] and electric bass [3, 5]; Edu Ribeiro: drums; Chris Potter: tenor saxophone [3, 7]
Released – 2020
Label – Inpartmaint [RCIP-0306]
Runtime – 48:33