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Hugo Fattoruso: Hugo Fattoruso Y Barrio Opa

Chris M. Slawecki By

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Once upon a time in Uruguay, teenage brothers Osvaldo and Hugo Fattoruso stepped out of their musical family trio to play guitar and bass for popular Latin American jazz (swing) and rock 'n' roll ensembles, venturing in and around the region and woodshedding, which gave them time and space to work candombe rhythms and bossa nova harmonies and their attendant Afro-Cuban and European underpinnings into the Fattoruso's own composing style. Hugo eventually moved to New York City, redoubled the Afro-Cuban and jazz elements of his own music, and formed Opa. Opa, underground legends of 1970s jazz-rock-funk fusion, backed Airto Moreira on the percussionist's most successful recordings, including 1973's Fingers (CTI Records), and also appeared on landmark sessions by Flora Purim onEncounter, 1976 (Milestone), Milton Nascimento on Nascimento, (Warner Bros., 1997), and other Brazilian artists.

On Hugo Fattoruso Y Barrio Opa, Fattoruso's unmistakable keyboard touch re-emerges in an ensemble that includes his son Francisco on bass, guitarist Nicolás Ibarburu, and FIVE percussionists: Tato Bolognini on drums, Albana Barrocas on percussion, and the three-headed monster of the Silva brothers (Matthias, Guilermo Diaz and Wellington), who add Afro-Uruguayan candombe rhythms that make the entire set blast off.

Penned by Francisco, "Candombe Beat Funk" swings between two rhythmic movements, shifting back and forth on the composer's bass, which upshifts his dad's keyboard spotlight into overdrive. Layers of acoustic percussion build into "Candombelek," adorned with tropical vocals and the leader's cool, crisp electric keyboards. Its companion piece "Candombe Alto" burns hotter and more brightly with Afro-Cuban rhythms, and gloriously crowns its percussive heat with an electric keyboard melody that Fattoruso unleashes like a soaring, spiraling eagle.

The Fattoruso clan collectively melt a new original "Antes" into an update of "Goldenwings," the title track of Opa's 1976 eponymous debut (Milestone Records) and an underground funk-disco club hit. This new "Goldenwings" splatters the melody to "Summertime" in multiple directions, with the bassist digging up lines that squiggle, bounce and stretch like rubber. The guitarist pops off a solo that sounds like Latin, jazz AND rock rocketing through this atmospheric mix. An acoustic piano trio tosses the melody "Botijas" into churning waves of jazz and rhythm that threaten to break completely out of its arrangement.

The closing "Berimba-ô" and "Anima 2" further highlight the African roots from which Fattoruso's music—colorful but mysterious, like flowers in a moonlit meadow—continues to grow.

Track Listing: La Del Cheche; Botijas; Candombe Beat Funk; El Romance Del Sordo; Trenes De Tokyo; Candombelek; Candombe Alto; Llamada Insólita; Antes / Goldenwings; For You To Be Proud; Berimba-ô; Anima 2.

Personnel: Hugo Fattoruso: keyboards, vocals, arrangements; Francisco Fattoruso: bass; Tato Bolognini: drums; Albana Barrocas: percussion, vocals; Nicolás Ibarburu: electric guitar; Mathías Silva: tambor piano; Guillermo Díaz Silva: tambor chico; Wellington Silva: tambor repique.

Title: Hugo Fattoruso Y Barrio Opa | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Far Out Recordings

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