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Freddie Bryant: Boogaloo Brasileiro

Versed in both jazz and classical ways, this 35-year-old guitarist tackles an eclectic set that focuses on original compositions and is graced by the presence of bassist Avishai Cohen, pianist Edsel Gomez and reedmen Steve Wilson and Chris Cheek.

Going against conventional wisdom regarding the kind of track that should open an album, Bryant begins with a contemplative, nylon-string solo rendering of Jobim’s “Por Toda Minha Vida,” a gorgeous blend of delicate harmonics, ethereal harmonies and rhythmic freedom. The title track features all seven of the album’s participants, who join forces in establishing an incendiary groove. Having switched to electric guitar, Bryant gets off some bluesy licks but falls short of matching his peers’ energy level. He fares much better, however, during the remainder of the program, which finds him back on acoustic guitar and includes a Latin treatment of “You Don’t Know What Love Is” (with a subtly grooving solo and a beautifully phrased contribution by Cheek) and “Alone,” a brisk original with a brilliant solo that builds in intensity and incorporates a spectrum of guitar devices.

While the ensemble focus of the original material causes Bryant to seem like a sideman on his own album, he’s featured enough to offer a clear view of his many talents.

Originally Published