Richard Boukas

Balaio [Basket]

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Arguably the most important Brazilian musician in the last half century is composer and multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal -- whose open-minded brand of world music has attracted jazz greats like Chick Corea and Stan Getz. Of all the musicians in Pascoal's elite group, pianist and flutist Jovino Santos Neto best embodies the master's musical philosophy. His most important ongoing collaboration is with New York-based guitarist Richard Boukas, and this disc comes across as Brazilian music for hardcore genre lovers, rather than the easy to digest variety as on the Ivan Lins tribute. The set is divided between songs by Pascoal, Boukas, and Neto. It begins with the brisk, bright samba "As Cores da Menina," which captures the sharp interaction between the duo; Neto swirls piano improvisations over Boukas' punchy acoustic guitar lines. This sort of lively but sparse arrangement serves them well throughout the disc, as on the reflective title track and atmospheric "Campinas." The ballads get a little repetitive after a while, but frisky pieces like "Homeopatia" save the day. Boukas has a few vocal spotlights, most notably "Escuridao Da Passagem," which puts him into the Lins category for a voice that communicates passion to English speaking listeners even in Portuguese.

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