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Gustavo Assis-Brasil: In Concert

Mark F. Turner By

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Gustavo Assis-Brasil
Gustavo Assis-Brasil: In Concert
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With a sophisticated tone that's suffused with warmth and complemented by razor-sharp technique but, more significantly, the ability to play with emotion, guitarist Gustavo Assis-Brasil makes his sound and presence known on this eponymous DVD/CD combo.

Recorded live in front of an appreciative hometown crowd in Santa Maria, Brazil in July 2007, the DVD features Brasil performing with his trio (bassist Jose Pienasola and drummer Mauricio Zottarelli) and other guests on twelve original pieces. From the start, the mood is set by cool and collected musicians who literally turn up the heat without breaking a sweat as they perform Brasil's music, which weaves together the contemporary sounds of Brazilian, classical, and progressive fusion jazz with a combination of careful composing and open exploration.

Amidst legato phrases, intricate chord changes, funky rhythms and gorgeous melodies, the DVD can be appreciated by both guitar enthusiasts and casual listeners alike. The camera work is superb: smooth pans and tight close-ups of the band, revealing Brasil's fast and spidery chordings and his "hybrid" picking method. Another visual treat is seeing the guitarist play his unique "axe," the ergonomic SoloEtte guitar, both electric and nylon string versions.

The other musicians are also a key part of a vibe integrating the exotic with the highly professional in a smooth and seamless mix. The guests' spots never disrupt the flow while highlighting Brasil's interaction in varied instrument settings, whether the simpatico dueling with guitarist Julio Herrlein on "Pra Aanamaria" or Brasil's accompaniment of Nene Vianna's lovely fretless bass melody on "Dec. 31st."

The DVD contains three tracks not included on the companion CD with the exception of the tune "Next Week," which closes the CD with an upbeat rural-esque sound reminiscent of guitarist Pat Metheny's earlier works. When one listens to either format separately, each reveals a different visual/audible insight from its own unique perspective.

The DVD bonus includes an insightful "Making of" chapter with behind-the-scenes footage of Brasil with technicians, musicians, friends, and family, as well as commentary by his father Sergio de Assis Brasil, who directed the film and passed away shortly after its completion. This chapter shows Gustavo's passion and dedication to music and foregrounds his fellowship with others, which is evident throughout this film.

DVD Track Listing: The Same Day; The Reason Why; Eba Fubah; Fim De Tarde; Pra Anamaria; 55 (For Wayne Krantz); Dec. 31st; Sul; Invisible Meeting; New Idea; Sanguessuga; Long Gone.

CD Track Listing: The Same Day; The Reason Why; Eba Fubah; Pra Anamaria; 55 (For Wayne Krantz); New Idea; Dec. 31st; Next Week.

Personnel: Gustavo Assis-Brasil: guitar/nylon guitar; Jose Pienasola: bass; Mauricio Zottarelli: drums; Nene Vianna: fretless electric bass: (7, 10, 11); Bruno Tessele: drums (7, 11); Julio "Chumbinho" Herrlein: guitar (3, 5, 9).

Production Notes: 68 minutes. NTSC All Region. Recorded July 2007 at Santa Maria, RS, Brazil. Extras: "Making of the DVD"; Credits.


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