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Marc Antoine: Madrid

Many contemporary artists claim an integrated “world beat” sound combining contemporary and traditional elements, but few have actually achieved a true hybrid style with a success matching guitarist Marc Antoine. The “seams” between stylistic elements have grown more subtle with each album-and now on Madrid (NYC NY3P-90110: 46:25) have virtually disappeared into a unique, freewheeling sound with the added dimension of deep roots. Like previous efforts, the album is grounded in Antoine’s detailed classical technique, thick with emotion and history. Producer Rick Braun’s ear for atmospheric detail builds the mood on tracks like “Sunland,” which finds Antoine’s ascending Spanish riffs gliding across a modern shuffle beat, and Peter White’s accordion adding to the romance. The atmospheres vary from the dishy ’50s samba (captured by horns and lithe vocalese) of “Dreamsicle” to the darker jazz club colors of “Plaza Mayor,” with Antoine’s spindly dark licks and Jimmy Earl’s bass work adding to the flavor. The album’s title track, “Madrid,” encapsulates Antoine’s unique musical voice. A dark-colored flamenco strum weaves through contemporary rhythmic elements and melodic forms-capturing the feeling of a modern city that’s alive with tradition.

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