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Vinicius Cantuaria: Live: Skirball Cultural Center 8/7/03

Live: Skirball Cultural Center 8/7/03 (Kufala) is a double CD documenting an L.A. performance by Vinicius Cantuaria as guitarist, vocalist and percussionist, with percussionist Nanny Assis, drummer Paulo Braga, bassist Sergio Brandao and violinist Jenny Scheinman. On the first disc, “Ligia” has the leader splashing sustained guitar chords as a sensual trippy/funky groove ropes Cantuaria’s mellifluous singing on this Jobim gem-with the exquisitely conceived, placed and toned sound of Scheinman around, underneath and in tow. “O Nome Dela” features thick percussive choruses of laid-back and bedrock backbeat bass groove, whereupon Sheinman’s arresting and elusive harmonic angles-with bowing and intonation in their prime-highlight melodic nimbleness. The second disc is less experimental and features a few shorter performances. By then, Cantuaria’s impressionistic, cymbal-like, sliding ethereality wears a bit thin as the material-as particularly driven by Braga and Brandao on “Rio”-calls for more precise malandreria. His guitaring, for example, fares stylistically better on the energetic riffed-groovedness of “Joia.” Overall, there’s no lack of energy in the in situ Masa Tsuzuki recording and mix. His midtempo guaguanco, “Cubanos Postizos (Prosthetic Cubans)” (referencing Marc Ribot?), is a midtempo suave cooker and Scheinman and the leader are just tight on.

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