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Ricardo Silveira and Luiz Avellar: Live

Woodrow Wilkins By

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There's a musical relationship between Brazil and the United States that transcends tourism and politics. Each nation gave birth to its own style of music. Yet those styles, jazz and what many Brazilians refer to as "typical" Brazilian music, when performed by competent musicians, can be interchangeable.

Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto and Djavan are just a few Brazilian musician/songwriters who've not only had the honor of their work being translated by North American jazz artists, but who also have performed with or written songs for such jazz acts as Stan Getz, The Manhattan Transfer and Lee Ritenour, to name a few.

One name that should be noted among these is Brazilian singer/songwriter Milton Nascimento. His work has been interpreted by George Duke and Earth, Wind & Fire, among many others. But perhaps an even greater honor is when fellow countrymen pay tribute—as is the case with Ricardo Silveira and Luiz Avellar. Joined on some tracks by percussionist Robertinho Silva, the acoustic-instrument duo takes the beloved music of Nascimento's classic work to a different level of elegance and passion. As longtime members of Nascimento's band, they are able to draw upon two-plus decades of musical chemistry.

Recorded over two nights in Rio de Janeiro, Live , appropriately subtitled "Play the Music of Milton Nascimento," is a fresh and charming spin on the legendary songwriter's classics, supplemented by a few original songs. The performance was part of the 2002 "Grandes Encontros (Great Encounters)" concert series that paid tribute to Nascimento's music. While the songs are distinctly Brazilian, their sounds and message are universal. Rare is the day when an entire album performed by a duet—joined on several tracks by a percussionist - is a joy to listen to. Silveira and Avellar come through in a way that not only displays their skills as frontmen, but also shows how beautiful and timeless is the work of the man they honor. And with several tracks spanning more than six minutes—such as "Maria, Maria," "Nuvem Cigana" and the effervescent "Vera Cruz"—the pair get plenty of room to stretch out.

Whether you like jazz with a Brazilian flavor, Brazilian music with the freedom to improvise, or simply good, clean music, Live is worth a listen—or several.

Track Listing: Para Lennon e McCartney (For Lennon and McCartney); Maria, Maria; Nuvem Cigana (Gypsy Cloud); Travessia (Bridges); Saudade dos Avioes da Panair (Conversado no Bar) (On the Wings of Panair - Chatting at the Bar); Vera Cruz; Pe Cega, Faca Amolada (Blind Faith, Sharp Knife); Cravo e Canela (Cinnamon and Clove); Saidas e Bandeiras (Exits and Flags); Cor de Rosa (The Color Pink)

Personnel: Ricardo Silveira, acoustic nylon string guitar; Luiz Avellar, acoustic piano; Robertinho Silva, percussion

Title: Live | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Adventure Music


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