Yotam: Brasil (2011)
It is quite difficult to appreciate the competency of the players with whom Yotam has surrounded himself for this outing, as both the playing and engineering carry a certain lack of character and color. Too smooth throughout, it truly is a matter of tone. The repertoire and overall sound combine for a very mild, milquetoast record suitable, at best, as unassuming background music.
Yotam pulls his repertoire from a who's who of Brazilian composition, including Chico Buarque, Dorival Caymm, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Edu Lobo and Carlos Lyra. Jobim/Buarque's "Eu te Amo (And I Love Her)" is most engaging piece in the set, its diminished tempo relaxing the pace to the point where the guitarist cannot simply run scales; instead, he plays some very tender, lovely passages which preface an equally gentle flugelhorn solo. Yotam includes one original composition midway through the program, a lullaby appropriately titled, "Nocturne." As a bromide, it works.
With Brasil, Yotam take his place on the list between Yanni and Zamfir, offering a denatured version of a musical form that has already proven itself accessible enough in more sophisticated hands.
Track Listing: Influencia do Jazz (Influence of Jazz); Doce De Coco (Sweet Coconut); Falando de Amor (Words of Love); Saudade Da Bahia (Missing Bahia); Antigua; Nocturno; Piano Na Mangueira; Eu te Amo (And I Love Her); O Barquinho (My Little Boat); Pra Dizer Adeus (To Say Goodbye); Samba da Minha Terra (Samba of My Country).
Personnel: Yotam Silberstein: guitar, bandolim, vocals; David Feldman: piano; John Lee: acoustic bass guitar; Vanderlei Pereira: drums and percussion; Sharel Cassity: alto flute, clarinet; Roy Hargrove: flugelhorn (3, 5, 6, 9); Paquito D'Rivera: clarinet (4, 8); Toninho Horta: acoustic guitar (6, 11); Claudio Roditi: flugelhorn (8).
Record Label: Jazz Legacy Productions
Style: Hot Jazz