The super-rhythmic, ultra-melodic Argentinean-born and Brazilian-bred guitarist's fascinating musical journey makes this an explosive diary chock-full of elements of those experiences. After years working with top Brazilian musicians like Sergio Mendes and Ivan Lins, Mariano emerged as a popular smooth jazz/worldbeat artist in the mid-'90s before retreating behind the scenes as A&R director of EMI Brazil. After much success with the label, he returns to the studio on this compelling project, which blends his expertise on acoustic and electric guitars as well as keyboards and, getting even more exotic, the sitar. The rhythmically eclectic vibe here can best be described as "Rio chill," a new jazz groove reflecting the uniquely Brazilian balance of the warmth of the culture and Rio's rich cosmopolitan life. The ultra-melodic, soaring, and sweeping opening track, "May," weaves a lush guitar line with a sitar shimmer and even a bit of cello drama, along with lush wordless vocals. He cools the pace a bit on the more gently reflective "Blue Bossa" and the graceful, easy-grooving tribute to his wife, "Paula." The richly textured title track, which balances both tense and free-flowing, optimistic moods, was written just post-9/11. While he has a blast on soulful cool funk pieces like "High Frequency," he's at his most graceful on the handful of romantic pieces (each with a different rhythmic foundation) that balance the disc. For those who like a lot of pop in their Brazilian music (i.e., holdovers from the Mendes heyday when hybrid was king), Mariano offers a splendid mix.
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AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran