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Jim Nolet: Arco Voz

Another reverent, roots-baring work this month is offered by violinist Jim Nolet, whose Arco Voz (Cathexis 93-0010; 47:35) is a delicate, lacy paean to Brasilian romance. With a tight, unique ensemble spotlighting nylon guitar, cello and unique afro-Brasilian percussion instruments, Nolet’s pieces are uncommonly light and graceful. Nolet also employs a number of fine Brasilian vocalists for counterpoint and texture-where his lovely violin snakes around Monica Salmaso’s glassy-smooth vocal on “Samba da Pergunta,” the darker-toned ballad “Algo” finds Nolet doubling a stretch of Ana Amelia’s vocalizing for a unique, mournful effect. Other highlights include “Esse Seu Olhar,” sung in gentle, romantic tenor tones by Rodrigo Rodrigues, who evokes the lyrical sweetness of Michael Franks, and the violin-sung “You Don’t Know What Love Is,” with a haunting quality calling to mind a Brasilian “‘Round Midnight.” Throughout, Nolet’s ensemble stays faithful to the gentle, romantic traditions of their forebears, producing a warm, almost melting sound that’s impossible to resist.

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