Various Artists

Brazil Guitar Masters

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It's true that there have been relatively few compilations of Brazilian guitar work, which is something of an oversight given the gifted way some Brazilian musicians handle the instrument. But this probably isn't the ideal anthology. Yes, the four players here are remarkable, but only the late Baden Powell and Jose Barrense Dias are in the truly outstanding class, with Powell proving himself to be little short of a genius on his pieces, with the ability to work beautifully within rhythm and melody, as he does on the classic "Berimbau." Chiquinho Timoteo is technically excellent on the fretboard, but ultimately seems lacking in any personality, while Rosinha de Valenca surrounds herself with other instruments on most of her cuts, suffocating her style. There's some lovely music on here, but the information is lacking -- no indication of where the cuts originated, or when, and even the brief artist biographies are dated (there's no mention of Powell's death in 2000, for example). So if this succeeds (and that's debatable), it's because of the music rather than anything else. But a wider range of musicians would have made this a lot tastier.

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