Vytas Brenner


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Whether credited as Vytas Brenner or Vitas Brenner, the bearded Venezuelan is mostly unknown outside of Latin music audiences, a real shame in that the talented multi-instrumentalist went in more than a few interesting directions in the course of his career. It is real typical '70s music, to be sure, as some international recording artists seem to access any and all current trends as if the material were being dropped from up above like propaganda leaflets -- which in some cases is just what happened. No such political connection can be made with the '70s influences that haunt these ten tracks, however. There is liberated jazz fusion and thoughtful progressive rock, for example, not easy listening CIA agitators or Southern rock mercenaries. Un momento: There might just be an influence of the latter style after all in the final track, "Sentado et una Piedra," one of several well done vocal numbers that also boast a pleasant, sincere folk-rock feel. Brenner's voice is also more soulful on this last track, growling over electric slide guitar riffing. Drummer Frank Rojas really gets cooking as the tune builds to a finale, the result reminiscent not only of Lynyrd Skynrd but aggressive '70s Love as well. This is good stuff, but fans of electric guitar will like the instrumentals such as "Ganado" even better. Here a comparison can be made to the ghoulish instrumental rock of the Italian band Goblin; it is well-arranged feasting for the fretboard, also on the level of some of the better late-'60s extrapolations of surf rock combo the Ventures. "Estampida," following "Ganado," gets into the weird noise territory, creeping along from there into arrangements that show an interest in modern jazz. Rolando Briceno's soprano saxophone provides stylistic authority, and there are other sections where horns amass in layers, suggesting either overdubbing or the presence of more, uncredited musicians. Brenner went on to make recordings with some traditional Venezuelan acoustic instruments, also of interest although not as much pure fun as this superb set.

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