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Yotam: Brasil

Lawrence Peryer By

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Brazilian music is tricky. It must be approached carefully as its mellow understatement can be vulnerable to sterility in production and blandness in execution. Brasil, by Israeli guitarist Yotam Silberstein (now known solely as "Yotam") is plagued by both attributes.

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: Influência 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 Magueira; O Barquinho (My Little Boat); Eu Te Amo (And I Love Her); 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).

Title: Brasil | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Jazz Legacy Productions

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