How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
My Very Life is a collection of original compositions by Brazilian native Paulinho Garcia which reflect the wide-range of musical styles found in Brazil. While many people may be familiar with the Bossa Nova, especially the work of master composer/performer Antonio Carlos Jobim
Garcia draws from the lesser known baião, chorinho, choro and marcha rancho grooves to produce an album that is as enjoyable to listen to as it is to get up and dance to. My Very Life is the fourth release under the Chicago Sessions label, a subscription service that releases a new CD of original material from a featured Chicago artist every month.
Garcia's singing and guitar work on the album is exceptional. Drawing from his Brazilian background, he is able to weave in and out of different grooves with the greatest of ease. Though many non-Brazilian guitarists can play convincingly in the Brazilian style, Garcia brings a level of authenticity to each groove and tune that is rarely found on the north side of the equator. Tunes such as "I'll Be Calling For Maria" showcase his ability to properly anticipate each new chord, while maintaining a laid-back feel that eases each transition without ever feeling rushed or hurried.
This strong sense of groove is further accentuated during the vocal sections of tunes such as "E Quando..." where Garcia's vocal line and guitar chords meld together to become one instrument. Apart from the melody sections, he also contributes several memorable improvised vocal solos. His solo on "Cintura Fina" bridges the gap between the soft timbres of the human voice and the acrobatic melodic lines of a saxophone, providing the perfect link between the opening and closing melodic sections of the tune.
While Garcia is the leader of this recording the band he has chosen is made up of highly-gifted musicians that bring with them a wealth of experience. Of note are the two percussionists, Geraldo De Oliveira and Heitor Garcia. Each is a skilled multi-instrumentalist who always knows the right moment to lay back and groove and when it is time to step forward and drive the band into new realms of creativity and interaction. Not to be outdone, guitarist Michael Allemana delivers a solo on "Chorinho Novo" that is at once an homage to the great American bebop guitarists while, at the same time, fitting in perfectly within the song's groove, style and intention.
My Very Life is an exceptional album written and performed by exceptional musicians. Though it was originally released through the subscription service it can now be found through the standard CD distribution channels as well.
Track Listing: Cintura Fina; Ponto De Encontro; Chorinho Novo; I'll Be Calling For Maria (No Matter What); Do You Remember Me?; Chorinho Da Paula; E Quando...; Adios Mi Sueno; Chorinho Do Paulinho; My Very Life; Disfrutando a Boa Vida.
Personnel: Paulinho Garcia: voice, acoustic guitar; Heitor Garcia: percussion; Don Stiernberg: mandolin; Ernie Denov: electric guitar; Steve Eisen: flute, saxophone; Brett Benteler: bass; Geraldo De Oliveira: percussion; Michael Allemana: electric guitar; Julie Koidin: flute; Grazyna Auguscik: voice.