Vytas Brenner

La Ofrenda de Vitas Brenner

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Vitas Brenner is a Venezuelan bandleader of the late '60s and '70s whose direction was decidedly progressive. The use of folk roots stylings and instruments as part of the music on this particular album from 1972 can also be seen as part of a forward-thinking momentum similar to the way artists such as Carlos Santana and Gato Barbieri have used deep musical background to concoct new musical scenarios. Comparisons to jazz are not helpful, as this music lacks characteristics such as extended solos or sections of improvising. These are very well organized and disciplined, fitting together into a kind of suite although nothing in the liner notes makes any such intention clear. Brenner apparently made more and more use of synth sounds in later albums; here, these electronic keyboard parts will create a confusing array of reactions depending on the listener. Like some of the progressive rock and fusion jazz arrangement tricks or cliches, these are the type of musical elements that seem to have a shelf life like a gallon of fresh milk. Left out on the counter too long, all will seem rotten; stored away carefully for 20 years, and a ripe, gourmet cheese may have formed. This could be just the reaction a lover of exotica or lounge music might have to these swiftly moving compositions, and the sections involving percussion and traditional instruments such as the cuatro haven't dated in the least. Much can be said in praise of details within individual tracks such as "La Sabana" or the finale, "Canto del Pilonm," musical value that is not just something to be added up on the scale of hi-fi camp. This record certainly reaches the same destination as some much more lavish projects by artists such as Al Di Meola or Stewart Copeland, and with only a fraction of the pretension.

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