The young Brazilian bassist-composer André Vasconcellos, a sideman with such South American music luminaries as Ivan Lins, Hermeto Pascoal, Toninho Horta and Djavan, steps out as a leader on his Stateside debut and second release overall. Fronting a flexible and hip sextet, Vasconcellos impresses deeply on “Balance of Relations,” which opens with a delicate duet for bass and guitar before segueing to a driving ensemble piece brimming with tricky unisons between Marco Vasconcellos’ guitar and Josue Lopez’s tenor sax. Other performance highlights: Pianist Renato Fonseca trots out his best Herbie Hancock-inspired licks within the fabric of the beautiful bolero “Puerto Madero,” and saxophonist Lopez stretches mightily on the edgy, darkly polyrhythmic “The Trip of the Elephant” and the grooving, M-Base-ish “Spiral.”
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