Duos can be tough to pull off, especially for a whole CD, and piano/guitar duos are tougher still. It takes a special kind of mutual craftmanship and understanding for two chordal instruments to make music together without getting in each other's way. Cesar Camargo Mariano, one of Brazil's most respected arrangers and composers (and the widower of the legendary Elis Regina, that country's Edith Piaf), is also a fine player whose uncluttered approach works perfectly with that of Lubambo, the elegant first-call, New York-based Brazilian guitarist. Both have an impeccable sense of rhythm and a soulful, romantic delivery, and have played together often in Mariano's quartet. If anybody can make this format work, it's these two. And they do.
There's some gorgeous stuff on here, like Mariano's "Choro #7,"the wistful "Era Bom," and a fast-flowing "Joy Spring." Lubambo's composition, "Mr. Jr.," is darkly exciting and wonderfully intricate, as is "April Child," while Mariano's "O Que E..." is jubilant. Jobim is well-represented in a dreamy, swaying "Fotografia" and one of the most tender arrangements of "Wave" I've ever heard. Taken slower than usual, it highlights its subtle harmonic beauty. This Duo makes a rich, very satisfying combination. The warm friendship between the two is audible and enveloping.
Track Listing: Samba Dobrado, Choro #7, Joy Spring, Mr. Jr., Era Bom, O Que E, O Que E,
Fotografia, Short Cut, April Child, Wave
Personnel: Cesar Camargo Mariano (piano, producer), Romero Lubambo (acoustic, electric