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Vinicius Cantuaria – ‘Psychedelic Rio’

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    Posted: 28 Mar 2024 at 7:23am
Vinicius Cantuaria: Psychedelic Rio

(Sunnyside Records. Album review by Phil Johnson) 

VINICIUS CANTUÁRIA - Psychedelic Rio cover Why Brazilian master musician Vinicius Cantuaria (b.1951) isn’t more celebrated is another of life’s unfairnesses. He’s a very accomplished composer, singer and guitarist, and his songs are seductively listenable, not a common combination in jazz or anything else. The back story is also impressive. A drummer with Caetano Veloso, leader of the band O Terco and for the last 30 years a solo artist and singer-songwriter who has moved between his native Rio to Brooklyn and back again, making entirely distinctive music mixing luxurious-sounding Brazilian forms with a spiky downtown edge. Bill Frisell, Brad Mehldau, Arto Lindsay and David Byrne have guested on his albums (all of them were on ‘Vinicius’ from 2001). His tour for the late lamented Contemporary Music Network years ago was one of my all-time musical highlights.

This new album pairs him with the Italian team of electric bassist Paolo Andriolo – who first approached Vinicius after a gig in Rio – and drummer/percussionist Roberto Rossi. The repertoire includes a number of familiar items and begins with ‘Rio Negro’, co-written with Caetano Veloso. It’s the track that perhaps most fulfils the ‘psychedelic’ reference in the album’s title, which primarily relates to the leader’s use of Fender electric guitar, with added reverb and distortion, although most of the treatment is well within the limits of Cantuaria’s normal sound-world. He has always mixed electric and acoustic sources, with the exception of his acoustic solo work, where he’s a fabulous interpreter of Antonio Carlos Jobim.

The subsequent tracks include Brazilian classics ‘E Preciso Perdoar’ by Alcyvando Luz and Carlos Coqueijo, and Jobim’s ‘Insensatez’, which are both entirely winning. Originals include a beautiful ballad, ‘Berlin’, which features dreamy double-tracked guitar, and the melancholy ‘Humanos’ . A song about an often heard but seldom seen Amazonian bird, co-written with Nana Vasconcelos, ‘Ulrapuru’, provides another sort of psychedelic effect, its insistent shuffle-rhythm percussion and imitations of rainforest noises conjuring a soupily narcotic haze. ‘Psychedelic Rio’ might be more marking time than a truly new direction but it’s a worthy addition to the Cantuaria discography. 

Vinicius Cantuaria – guitar, voice
Paolo Andriolo – bass
Roberto Rossi – drums, percussion, background vocals
Rafael Meninão – accordion (track 7)
Gianluca Ballarin – keyboard (track 6)

LINKS: Psychedelic Rio on Bandcamp – and YouTube

from https://londonjazznews.com

Edited by snobb - 28 Mar 2024 at 7:28am
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