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Jazz is arguably the one form of music that's truly American in its creation. However, it clearly belongs to the world, as artists of all continents and many cultures have embraced the art form and adapted it to their own experiences. One jazz musician from the South even referred to it as America's classical music.
Brazilian-born, Swedish-based Gui Mallon makes his United States and Adventure Music debut on this, his eighth solo recording, Live at Montreux. Listeners are treated to a bit of jazz and classical. Recorded during his 1999 European tour at the famed Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Mallon and his ensemble, which features from nine to twelve musicians and includes guitar, sax, flute, percussion, and a full string quartet, explore both Mallon's original compositions as well as unique and challenging chamber music arrangements.
It's a delicate but fascinating blend of bossa nova, European classical and light jazz. Mallon says the music defies description. At the ensemble's inception, classical and contemporary music were its mainstay. Over the past four years, however, it's ventured into new territory. Some may call it one of the many variations of jazz. Mallon has a more simplified answer: "It's instrumental music, that's all."
The album opens with "Baiao Tva," nearly six and a half minutes of small orchestral genius. This track features Mallon in lead with his acoustic guitar, backed elegantly by the strings and featuring a cool sax solo by Mikael Godee. "Marianne (or Lost in New York)" is a more rhythmic, free-form selection that adds a Latin feel to an otherwise straight, contemporary jazz groove. Supplemented by flutists Anders Hagberg and Anna Sjodahl, a trio of percussionists, and soprano saxophonist Jonas Knutsson, this one is definitely a crowd pleaser. It gives a sense of "you are there," despite being a recording.
High drama takes center stage as the ensemble embarks on a seven-stop journey, "Brasil, Brazil Suite." With all but one track penned by Mallonthe other is by Glauko Santos Lima, who provides poetry/rapping on the two tracksthis series of songs covers a lot of ground: at times mellow, at times riveting. Mallon and his partners go through numerous changes, all while keeping within the theme and keeping the audience enchanted.
Whether it's jazz, world music, or some complicated deviation from classical, Gui Mallon's Live at Montreux is a treat for anyone who appreciates instrumental music that has both the discipline of orchestral music and the freedom for individuals to shine on solos.
Track Listing: Baiao Tva; Overture Montreux, Marianne (or Lost in New
York); Brasil, Brazil Suite: I Samba Intro, II Pavana
da Guanabara, III Ipanema Sunset, IV Canto Indio, V
Baiao, VI Cadenza, VII Brasil, Brazil, VIII Samba
Coda; Jam Finale; Hermetica II; Lek
Personnel: Gui Mallon, guitar; Mikael Godee and Jonas Knutsson,
saxophones; Anders Hagberg and Anna Sjodahl, flutes;
Santiago Jeminez and David Bjorkman, violins; Eva
Fahlen, viola; Helena Espvall and Jonas Franke-Blom,
cellos; Stefan Wingefors, bass; Glauko Santos Lima,
poetry/rapping; Amadeo Rodriguez, Kalle Af Ekenstam
and Finn Bjornulfsson, percussion
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.