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Nelson Veras: Solo Session Vol. 1 (2010)

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Nelson Veras: Solo Session Vol. 1 How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Guitarist Nelson Veras's considerable sideman experience has favored the acoustic instrument—a highlight is his mild-mannered straight man to Manu Codjia's volatile electric guitar on Christophe Wallemme's fine large-ensemble Namaste (Bee Jazz, 2006).

The relationship between Veras's playing and classic Brazilian guitar—Helio Delmiro, Joao Gilberto
Joao Gilberto
Joao Gilberto
b.1931
vocalist
, Bola Sete
Bola Sete
Bola Sete
1923 - 1987
guitar
—is like that between James Blood Ulmer
James Blood Ulmer
James Blood Ulmer
b.1942
guitar
's playing and the blues: oddly, totally inside the tradition and entirely outside it at the same time. For Veras (and Ulmer, indeed), this has something to do with a recondite intricacy in the playing that sets it apart from earlier influences. In Veras's case, this sophistication resembles that of Pat Metheny
Pat Metheny
Pat Metheny
b.1954
guitar
, who, incidentally, "discovered" the then-adolescent Veras some years back, freshly relocated from Salvador de Bahia to France.

In the set list, Veras certainly favors the Brazilian side of his pedigree, something he has not always been able to do so explicitly as a sideman: there are impeccable renditions of Antonio Carlos Jobim
Antonio Carlos Jobim
Antonio Carlos Jobim
1927 - 1994
piano
and Chico Buarque numbers, three apiece; and a lovely reading of Milton Nascimento
Milton Nascimento
Milton Nascimento
b.1942
guitar
' s "Lilia." Moreover, at least one of the straight jazz numbers— Chick Corea
Chick Corea
Chick Corea
b.1941
piano
's "Windows"—has a longstanding Brazilian connection, as it is best known in Stan Getz
Stan Getz
Stan Getz
1927 - 1991
sax, tenor
's bossa nova version on the saxophonist's Sweet Rain, (Verve 1967).

Elsewhere, we get Richard Rodgers numbers, both with Larry Hart ("My Funny Valentine," which grapples with Jim Hall
Jim Hall
Jim Hall
1930 - 2013
guitar
's classic duet version with Bill Evans
Bill Evans
Bill Evans
1929 - 1980
piano
, on Undercurrent, (Blue Note, 1962)) and with Oscar Hammerstein ("My Favorite Things," totally free of the influence of John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
saxophone
's many iconoclastic versions).

John Lewis
John Lewis
John Lewis
b.1920
piano
's "Django"—perhaps an indirect nod to the French-guitar half of Veras's résumé—is rendered with aching saudade, the crystalline, almost harp-like, quality of the guitarist's playing shining through the warm, low-treble sound.

It might seem premature and risky for so young a player to lay bare all the elements of his musicianship on a solo album. Overall, this record shows it was a risk worth taking. In fact, it's confidently labeled "volume 1"—if this means there's more to come, it will be welcome.

Track Listing: Bésame Mucho; Lilia; Django; Moment's Notice; Wave; Não Fala de Maria; Triste; Corcovado; Windows; Todo O Sentimento; My Funny Valentine; A Ostra E O Vento; My Favorite Things.

Personnel: Nelson Veras: acoustic guitar.

Record Label: Bee Jazz

Style: Latin/World


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