Hamilton de Holanda / Hamilton De Holanda Quintet

Brasilianos, Vol. 2

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Generally heard in smaller contexts, Hamilton De Holanda fronts a full quintet for a second time on this set of originals, with a bonus DVD recapturing those compositions, plus covers of music by Astor Piazzolla, Edú Lobo, and Hermeto Pascoal. Playing the ten-string mandolin, De Holanda is always in fine form as far as his substantial virtuosity, but here is trimmed back just a bit to blend with his bandmates, most particularly the harmonica player Gabriel Grossi and acoustic guitarist Daniel Santiago. Recorded in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, the music is finely crafted, very thoughtful, and beautiful while retaining its excitement. The CD burns from the outset with speedy, bright, and happy flights of melodic fancy, but settles into slower or romantic discourses. "Tamandua/Anteater" reflects the cover art in curious means, as the friendly animal is depicted in a long vocal passage, while the funky but sleek "Estrela Negra/Black Star" perfectly showcases the tandem partnership between De Holanda and Grossi. There's a quirky side to the group, even spiky, as heard during "Ajaccico," at times emphasizing classicism à la Egberto Gismonti, and a pensive arena that has rarely been heard from the mandolinist. Overall, it's fun to hear these incredible players doing music to their hearts content with no real commercial constraints, making Brasilianos, Vol. 2 an easily recommended item.

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