Los Angeles Guitar Quartet

LAGQ Latin

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This crossover release by the LAGQ primarily features Latin-flavored pieces by composers ranging from Sting to Copland, with Piazzolla, Rodrigo, and Brouwer thrown in. Most of the pieces were arranged by LAGQ members William Kanengiser and Andrew York. The arrangements and performances capture the spirit of the originals extremely well. Maybe it's just because of being played on guitars, but the Paisaje Mexicano and Danza de Jalicso by Copland and the Carmen suite in these transcriptions sound even more Latin than the originals. Of the non-arranged works, Forrobodó by Egberto Gismonti and Cuban Landscape with Rain by Leo Brouwer are definitely worth sampling. In Forrobodó, the ensemble work is so skillful that none are thrown off at all by each simultaneously playing a different meter. In Cuban Landscape with Rain, it is easy to discern the different types of rain, from delicate small drops to large drops going splot on the ground. The original work by York, Syzygy, adds flute to the ensemble for a jazzy mélange of flamenco themes. The CD ends with the song En Aranjuez con tu amour, arranged from the slow movement of Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez. With such a variety of works, the CD is meant to appeal to audiences of the group's classical albums An Evening in Granada and For Thy Pleasure, as well as of the more contemporary ones, such as L.A.G.Q. and Labyrinth. And although it does offer something for everyone and there is no arguing with their skills and performances, as a whole, LAGQ: Latin may not appeal to those looking for just classical or just smooth jazz with a Latin flavor.

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