Review Summary: Famed jazz guitarist connects with brilliant trio of Brazilian musicians
What a joy it is to be in possession of Campo Belo, the latest album from jazz guitar genius Anthony Wilson. Wilson has always had an affinity and connection for Brazil and for the many styles of South American jazz, and he now aims to bring that sound to an American audience.
Wilson shuttled down to Sao Paolo and collaborated with a fine trio of Brazilian musicians - Andre Mehmari, Edu Ribeiro, & Guto Wirtti - and the time and care invested in this record really shows. The result is music that is very fluffy, vibrant and carefree, and has the potential to light up an evening with great company. Campo Belo is as warm as the sunshine on your face, as tasty as a wad of cotton candy, and as authentic as a stroll down the streets of old Rio.
Wilson kicks off this collection with the album's title track, which manages to mix many of his signature emotions all into one track."Campo Belo" is an extended suite that feels like it's on it's way to somewhere - as if it has some grand point that has to be made. The piano clangs in the background while Wilson deliberately produces every note, making sure not one of them is wasted. About five minutes in the track changes pace, however, and becomes mellow and free flowing like a lively party.
"March to March" is an attempt to expound upon a particular mood or atmosphere; in this case it could be the perfect background for a relaxed evening with friends. The light, easygoing piano work will carry you away to pleasant times.
Other highlights include "Edu," which features stimulating interplay between the piano and guitar. But most notable is the accordion, which gives the track a festive, springlike atmosphere. Before the end, "Edu" tosses some curveballs by mixing in some slightly more dramatic passages before coming back down to earth.
This paves the way for the real highlight of the album, "After the Flood," which noticeably cranks up the intensity. With its sweet guitar leads it's very energetic and ear grabbing. And there are a multitude of slick interludes and breakdowns that are complimented perfectly by the ting-ting-tang of the cymbals in the background.
Of course, there are many more laid back moments on the album, including the elegant and breathtaking "Etna," which could serve as background music to an evening on the balcony of some luxurious hotel overlooking the city, with drink in hand.
And then there is "Transitron," the closer, which sounds like nothing else on the album. It opens with wild arrangement of guitars and pianos, while the snare rolls signal chaos in the background. After about two minutes the song settles into an ominous groove. It ripples with a certain type of energy not found anywhere else on the album, making "Transitron" a clear highlight.
I was not familiar with Anthony Wilson's works up to this point, but I admire the way he is able to cultivate a particular mood and promote awareness of this wonderful type of jazz. So grab your best buddy and be sure to tip your martini waiter well, because Campo Belo will provide you with the soundtrack to kick up your feet.