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Toninho Horta: Serenade

Drawing from a variety of sources-including folk, jazz, classical and pop-Horta’s music is a unique fusion. While the Brazilian vocalist/guitarist has frequently been associated with the likes of Kenny Barron, Pat Metheny, and Flora Purim, he essentially goes it alone over the course of this set, which for the most part was recorded at a 1995 Korean concert.

On heartfelt original tunes like “Liana” and “Durango Kid,” Horta’s flexible voice dominates, a function that often relegates his fine guitarwork to a supportive role. In contrast, instrumentals like “Moon River” and “Korean Moments” clearly display his sophisticated musicianship and chops. On “I Love You,” electric guitarist Bill Lee solos while Horta supports, essentially turning things into a jam whose total is less than the sum of its parts. And they team up again for the album’s only studio track, “Arirang,” a well-recorded, haunting Korean song that inadvertently points out the live material’s somewhat substandard guitar sound. A good representation of Horta’s abilities, despite the uneven production values.

Originally Published