Mike Marshall & Choro Famoso: Mike Marshall & Choro Famoso (2004)
While there are two ensembles on the recording, the essential make-up is the same: mandolin, guitar, clarinet/saxophone and percussion. While the clarinet is not a typical instrument in some forms of Brazilian music it is common in the choro form and thus fits in well, contributing to the organic texture of the group, sharing solo and thematic duties with Marshall’s mandolin.
Much like Marshall’s previous album, Serenata: The Music of Hermeto Pascoal , Marshall has taken the subject matter and given it a smoother veneer, meaning that while this is clearly folk-based as is the traditional form, all the rough edges have been removed and the arrangements more precise. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; despite its light-weight approach the players are both capable and informed, and the record maintains its authenticity.
Marshall, known best for his groundbreaking “newgrass” work with David Grisman, chamber-folk work with Montreux and genre-busting group Psychograss, reigns in his virtuoso capabilities for the most part, although there is more fire here than there was on Serenata. On up-tempo tracks including “Noites Cariocas” and “Um Abraço Seu Domingos” he brings a certain sense of joy, never losing sight of their essence. “Choro Negro” shows his tender side, with trills and delicate tremolos coaxing the tender beauty of the piece.
An easy-going and playful record, Mike Marshall & Choro Famoso is another recording from Adventure Music with the goal of bringing acoustic Brazilian music to a larger audience. With engaging records like this one, they are clearly on the road to success.
Track Listing: Um Abraco Seu Domingos (A Hug Mr. Domingos); Cochichando (Whispering); Sarau para Radam
Personnel: Mike Marshall (Mandolin), Carlos Oliveira (nylon string guitar), Andy Connell (clarinet, soprano sax), Michael Spiro (percussion), Brian Rice (percussion)
Record Label: Adventure Music