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Lara/Reyes: World Jazz

The acoustic guitar duo Lara & Reyes whips up a batch of brisk, elegant Latin-derived confections on World Jazz. Partners Sergio Lara and Joe Reyes accomplish a rare feat: lending traditional play styles a modern flair without muddy, artificial trappings. The results are melodic and sweet, from the swirling nylon textures of “Leona” to the darker, aggressive flamenco colors of the beguiling “Amor de Lejos.” The duo surrounds its graceful guitar work with key details, like the muted flute and light-touch Brazil-beat piano work on “Nuevo Mundo,” which keep their arrangements fresh and interesting. Another outstanding track, “Neila,” offsets its guitar melody and worldly percussion with stuttering modern effects, for a high-desert, open-skies feel of motion and freedom. Lara & Reyes also utilize traditional guitar voicings in some unexpected settings, like the jazz-trio feel of “Danielle’s Waltz,” with a melody made poignant by its sparse, plainspoken guitar line.

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