Gui Mallon: Live at Montreux

Guitarist Gui Mallon, a native of Rio de Janeiro, follows a more strictly Brazilian-flavored direction on Live at Montreux (Adventure). Accompanied by string quartet, saxophone, flute, bass and a battery of percussionists, Mallon anchors the ensemble with his authoritative fingerstyle comping on nylon string acoustic guitar in a program of energetic originals. Some of Mallon’s writing for this chamber ensemble, like “Overture Montreux,” “Marianne (or Lost in New York)” and his eight-movement “Brasil, Brazil Suite” is extremely ambitious, if a tad pretentious. He does loosen the reigns a bit on two raucous vamp numbers, “Brasil, Brazil” and “Jam Finale,” both featuring Portuguese rapper Glauko Santos Lima. But the grooving Brazilian undercurrent throughout this live recording is compelling regardless of what is layered on top.