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Natalie Cressman & Ian Faquini: Guinga


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Natalie Cressman & Ian Faquini: Guinga
Brazilian guitarist-composer Guinga is something of a legendary figure. A polyglot performer associated with música popular brasileira's all-encompassing ethos, he's made his name fusing the contemporary and folkloric strains of his homeland with classical, jazz, rock and pop stylings. His influence looms large in that particular niche of the music world—and, honestly, beyond—and he receives his flowers on this warm tribute from trombonist Natalie Cressman and guitarist Ian Faquini.

This unique duo, which made an instantly positive impression with Setting Rays of Summer (Cressman Music, 2019) and used the studio to broaden their blend on Auburn Whisper (GroundUP, 2022), didn't come upon the concept of this album by chance. Both are direct musical descendants of the eponymous artist. Faquini came under Guinga's tutelage early on, and both he and Cressman, who initially connected at California Brazil Camp in Cazadero, California, grew under his wing. As both of the younger artists matured, their relationship with Guinga developed from that of mentor-students to friends and colleagues, culminating with this collaboration.

Unlike the majority of tributes, either developed and executed a world apart from their influence or given as a posthumous plaudit, this album arrives with its honoree alive and well, and he was welcomed into the creative process as composer, arranger, lyricist and guest performer. Guinga wrote or co-wrote all of the album's 14 pieces, be they older works or penned specifically for this project, and he appears on five. His guitar graces two Dukish delights—the sentimental "Par Constante" (Constant Pair) and the romantically sublime "Ellingtoniana," both featuring Cressman's melodious slide work. And he contributes vocals on three pieces co-written with Faquini: "Contradição" (Contradiction), where a bed of overdubbed trombones supports his light-voiced, sky blue serenade in three; "Lavagem de Conceição," bringing baião's bounce and the topic of Candomblé ritual washing together as one (with some additional vocal assistance from the co-leaders, Anna Paes and Sandy Cressman); and "Segredo de Dadá" (Dadá's Secret), a statement encapsulating saudade (and casting Natalie Cressman as Guinga's singing partner).

Although Guinga is absent from the remaining tracks, they all bear the master's stamp. "Bolero de Satã" (Satan's Bolero), a hit for the titular figure in the '70s, draws a direct line from his own adorned writing to the signature sound of this duo. "Aria de Opereta" (Operetta Aria) delivers a perfect amalgamation of Brazilian and classical languages. The concise "Delírio Carioca" (Carioca Delirium) offers honeyed pleasantries. "Ramo de Delírios" (Bouquet of Delirium), harkening back to Guinga's debut, finds Cressman and Faquini in beautiful sync. The "Nítido e Obscuro / Geraldo No Leme" (Clear and Opaque / Geraldo in Leme) combo speaks to this duo's easy way with difficult rhythmic syntax. And the lively "Vô Alfredo" (Grandpa Alfredo) closer, tapping into Pernambuco's frevo dance rhythms and suggestions, nods to Guinga's grandfather with the leaders allowing their oft-tamed virtuosity to shine through. Lovely and lovingly delivered, Guinga is a gem of a tribute from two great artists to another.

Track Listing

Contradição; Bolero de Satã; Lavagem de Conceição; Aria de Opereta; Delírio Carioca; Ramo de Delírios; Por trás de bras da Pina; Par Constante; Garoa e Maresia; Segredo de Dadá; Nítido e Obscuro/Geraldo no Leme; Ellingtoniana; Viola Variada; Vô Alfredo.


Ian Faquini
guitar, acoustic
Anna Paes

Album information

Title: Guinga | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Self Produced

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