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If you like the piano, and appreciate the softer-flowing melodies of Latin America, you'll love Molambo, on which Guilherme Vergueiro plays unaccompanied. If you don't, you won't. It's about as simple as that. There are no up-tempo numbers here, nor are there any improvisations to speak of. Vergueiro simply plays 11 Latin tunes, almost all of which are ballads, in an unembellished style that owes as much to classical music as it does to Jazz. Tempos are slow to even more so, the mood warm and introspective. I kept hoping Vergueiro might shift gears, turn up the heat and toss in a spicy mambo, samba, bossa or two, but he doesn't. As a result, even though the music is lovely, the sameness of each number can become rather tedious. On a more positive note, Vergueiro is clearly a capable, well-schooled player who knows this music well and interprets it with insight and affection. All of the tunes - the last three of which, "Promises," "Dedicated to You" and "Alone" - were written by Vergueiro, were new to me. Each one is charming, albeit exceedingly subdued, and several seem almost interchangeable (that is, they sound almost alike to me). I spelled out earlier the criteria for enjoyment here; if the shoe fits, you'll fancy wearing it. Otherwise, you may want to consider a flashier model.
Molambo; Carinhoso; Ronda; Eu Sonhei Que Tu Estavas T
Jazz is a continuing revelation. The best show I ever attended was the
Roots Picnic at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, or was it Robert
Glasper's Experiment at Lincoln Center, or was it Chick Corea with
Brian Blade at Oberlin College? Most of all I enjoy playing guitar and
composing beats with my Brooklyn-based group Space Captain.