Charlie Bisharat

Along the Amazon

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Violinist Charlie Bisharat made his earliest splashes as new age accompanist extraordinaire for Yanni, John Tesh and Shadowfax (with whom he won a Grammy), but for his sweeping solo debut he cheerfully abandons the mellow safety net. Though it's not realy a Brazilian venture, Bisharat draws on the Shadowfax world beat sound much of the time, stirring up polyrhythmic textures with spirited melodies and a few acoustic and fusiony surprises to keep the enchantment flowing. Stylistically, Bisharat's bow alternates between a caressing, Doug Cameron like romanticism and the sharper percussive edges of a Jean Luc Ponty, yet it's clear his venture to the forefront has him forging a unique sound. Helping him immensely is his diverse way with a tune, from the hooky pop of "Brushfire" to more experimental ideas like "M&M's" and "Andy Gump." Many all star projects seem contrived but Bisharat's complementary ensemble of Strunz & Farah, ex bandmate Chuck Greenberg, Don Grusin, Russell Ferrante, John Patitucci and Eric Marienthal is nothing short of brilliant, a true supporting cast which never takes away from the glorious fiddling going on.

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