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Marco Pereira: Essence

Pereira, the Brazilian master of classical guitar, here performs with his trio plus one special guest. Having toured with Ralph Towner, Pereira now joins forces with another Oregon alumnus, multi-instrumentalist Paul McCandless, on four of the 10 cuts. The music on Essence is very melodic and mostly romantic, played with understated emotion and technical brilliance.

As is his wont, the guitarist chooses compositions by several historic figures from the vast treasure of Brazilian music. “Suite Baden Powell” encompasses four Baden Powell tunes, two co-written with Vinicius de Moraes (“O Astronauta” and “Deixa”), and two with Cesar Pinheiro (“Vou Deitar e Rolar” and “Cai Dentro”). Zé do Norte’s “Mulher Rendeira” is a popular song of the 1950s, while “Luz Negra” is by Nelson Cavaquinho, one of the greatest samba composers. “Xódo da Baiana” was written by an icon of Brazilian classical guitar, Dilermando Reis. There are also pieces by João Gilberto, “Um Abraço no Bonfá,” and by Antonio Carlos Jobim, “Eu te Amo.” Pereira throws in a tender solo rendition of Nicholas Brodsky’s “Be My Love,” in addition to two of his own creations, the delicate “Plainte” and the sprightly “Carioca.”

The selections with McCandless are certainly highlights. His oboe is captivating and luxurious in its timbral quality on “Mulher Rendeira.” His bass clarinet projects a darker, more somber mood during “Luz Negra.” On “Plainte” his English horn is transfixing, with its exquisite sound and long, beautifully delineated melodic variations. He delivers an ecstatic, rich-toned soprano sax solo on “Carioca,” replete with extended, darting lines. Pereira throughout plays with warmth and crisp articulation, whether in fleet improvisations or when sticking close to the melody with only subtle embellishment. Bassist Natallino Neto and drummer-percussionist Marcio Bahia are solid, receptive and/or prodding, and always of the moment.

Originally Published