Los Índios Tabajaras

The Many Splendored Guitars of Los Indios Tabajaras

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The myth behind this popular recording duo of the '60s and '70s is obviously a bunch of poppycock. Someone has to come out and say it. Brothers Mussapere and Herundy "found" a guitar out in the jungle and learned how to play it? Sure. With the humidity the way it is in the jungle, one might have been able to play scratch baseball with the neck of the instrument, but that's about it. No, the way these fellows get around the chord changes of these Tin Pan Alley songs, show tunes, and cosmopolitan Latin American instrumentals makes one feel sorry for them having to wear paint and feathers at all their gigs. No one ever asked that of Jim Hall. This is mellow, peaceful guitar music. The instruments stay very close to arrangements, articulating the melodies of the songs with as little extra seasoning as a Cuban peasant might have to sprinkle on his dish of rice and beans. It is similar to the way Willie Nelson solos, for example, although there are sometimes flashy little connecting runs that sound more like Django Reinhardt. Backup is subtle, emphasizing quiet Latin percussion, and there is a beautiful recorded sound from the RCA studios as can be expected. The group's version of "Begin the Beguine" by Cole Porter is really lovely. A listener looking for exotica, lounge, or otherwise mellow-type vibes should check out these dudes and not be scared off by their hokey costumes.

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