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Federico Britos: Hot Club of the Americas

Edward Blanco By

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Violinist extraordinaire Federico Britos originally from Montevideo, Uruguay and affectionately referred to by his close friends as "Federico the Uruguayan"—state's one of his closest colleagues, Paquito D'Rivera—has always had a particular affinity for the music of Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli and the renowned Hot Club of France. Britos pays tribute to the music of that era with one major cultural twist, he designs a unique interpretation of the rhythm-based music with the stylish Latin-flavored Hot Club of the Americas billed on the cover of the album as, "When Grappelli meets Latin America." The result, a sizzling and inviting violin leading a brilliantly presented session of warm, relaxing and vibrant Latin, Brazilian and traditional contemporary jazz performed by a cast of world-class musicians.

As a composer, Britos is known for his work with major orchestras, chamber ensembles , film scores and theatre, but it is his admiration for violinist Grappelli that is so evident here. The influence goes back to Suite Grappelliana which premiered in 1989 with the Montevideo Symphony Orchestra and was further enhanced by his performance in 1998, in The Grappelli Legacy concert at Carnegie Hall. A consummate jazz artist, the violinist has performed with the likes of Bucky Pizzarelli, Ken Peplowski, Charlie Haden, Charlie Byrd and Chuck Redd among others. It is his experience on the stage with some of the greatest Latin American musicians such as Astor Piazzolla, Israel "Cachao" Lopez, Dorival Caymmi and Vinicius De Moraes, that provide the backdrop for this enticing musical experience.

Britos assembles a seasoned group of players forming his core sextet that include guitarist Jorge Garcia, Felix Gomez on the piano, jazz luminary Edwin Bonilla on percussion and co-producers bassist Renyel Rivero and drummer Carlomagno Araya. There are however, a lot more musicians that add the spice and color the excitement here with special appearances from renowned artists such as Hendrik Meurkens , providing the harmonica sounds on the sensational "J'attendrai," pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba on, "I'm Confessin' that I Love You," and Cecile McLorin Salvant providing the vocals on two versions of "LA Vie en Rose," just to name a few.

As for the music, it's sensuous, delicate, percussive, creative and pleasantly engaging on many fronts. There are simply no fillers here as every piece is a keeper and worthy of repeated spins. Brito is simply terrific on the violin exhibiting his more than appreciable chops on the instrument on various tracks. An unselfish leader, the violinist unleashes his accompaniment and allows his supporting cast many opportunities and space for their own solos to weigh in here. The highlights are many from the opening "The Sheik of Araby," to "Djangology," "Melodie au Crepuscule," and "Honeysuckle Rose."

There's no question about this one, Federico Britos' Hot Club of the Americas is one truly special session of beautiful music that is much more than a tribute to the music of Reinhardt and Grappelli, it is an affirmation that one of the most expressive and creative violinist of our time is, Federico Britos himself.

Track Listing: The Skeik of Araby; J'attendari; I'm Confessin' that I Love You; Djangology; La Vie en Rose; Dark Eyes; Melodie au Crepuscule; Exactly Like You; Nuages; Honeysuckle Rose; Tears; La Vie en Rose (French Version).

Personnel: Federico Britos: violin; Jorge Garcia: guitar; Felix Gomez: piano; Edwin Bonilla: percussion; Renyel Rivero: bass; Carlomagno Araya: drums; Gonzalo Rubalcobo: piano (3); Giovani Hidalgo: congas (6); Cecile McLorin Salvant: vocal (5, 12); Antonio Adolfo: piano (7); Hendrik Meurkens: harmonica (2); Jamie Ousley: bass (2, 7); Claudio Spiewak: guitar (2, 7); Rafael Solano: percussion (2, 7); Jaui Schneider: piano (2); String Section (3, 5, 9): Elias Gamic: violin; Jose Montoto: violin; Gerardo Aguillon : violin; Jorge Clavero; Viera Borisova: viola; Nelson Amitano: viola; Constantin Litvinenco : cello.

Title: Hot Club of the Americas | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: Self Produced

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