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Thiago Esp: Thiago

Matt Cibula By

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This album might not be perfect, but it's pretty damned good—definitely good enough that we should all sit up and take notice of Thiago Esp'irito Santo, a young Brazilian who plays the electric bass like Jaco Pastorius, except without all the drugs and angst.

Some tracks are solo, or solo enough that his bass is the lead voice. He's okay enough when he's showing off—the first track combines preludes from J.S. Bach and Hector Villa Lobos—but he really shines on songs like Jobim's "Caminhos Cruzados," where his high bass notes seem to hum the melody over his own electric guitar accompaniment.

He duets well with others, too. He acquits himself nobly in a showdown against his own father, the bassist Arismar do Esp'irito Santo, "Ma Rapaiz!" And in the track "Vó Luiza," he plays two bass tracks against the twin guitars of Chico Pinheiro to create a song of almost unbearable lushness.

Esp'irito Santo is an extremely competent bandleader and composer, to say the least. A lot of musicians show up here, but the effect is still unified by his light, clean, fearless approach. Whether he's writing two-step tributes to forró master Neném (and facing off against accordion master Dominguinhos), taking things in a flamenco direction ("As de Bombacha!"), or getting funky (closer "Tocar," fueled by impeccable samba singing from Zé Renato), all the tracks still sound unified and cool.

This might just be due to the fact that he's a great casting director—one cannot go wrong with Bia Góes singing wordless vocals (the title track and "Fizê") or with a Daniel D'Alcântara trumpet solo. Edu Ribeiro makes for a swinging drummer, and Raphael Ferreira's tenor solo on "Bárbaro" is sharp and tight. But I think there's something more to it; Thiago's songs have a feel and a presence that some people have to work decades to achieve.

You might as well jump on the bandwagon now. Thiago is going to be a huge breakout star in about a minute... this disc is proof of that.


Track Listing: O cravo bem temperado: Prel

Personnel: Thiago Espirito Santo: electric bass, electric guitar; Edu Ribeiro: drums; Daniel D'Alcntara: trumpet, flugelhorn; Raphael Ferreira: tenor, soprano sax; Chico Pinheiro: acoustic guitar; Arismar do Espirito Santo: guitar, seven string guitar, bass; Silvia Ges: electric piano; Bia Gos: vocals; Amoy Ribas: percussion; Cuca Teixeira: drums; Vainer: vocals; Liv Moraes: vocals; Edson Montenegro: vocals; Dominguinhos: accordion; Sandro Haick: guitar; Di de Arajo: percussion; Fuba de Tapero: percussion; La Freire: flute; Djalma Lima: guitar; Alex Buck: drums; Z Renato: vocals; Rogrio Caetano: seven string guitar; Guelo: percussion.

Title: Thiago | Year Released: 2006


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