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Richard Boukas/Jovino Santos Neto: Balaio

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Were it not for small, independent labels like the Brazilian music-oriented Malandro (based in Cincinnati, of all places) deserving artists like guitarist Richard Boukas and pianist Jovino Santos Neto might not have much opportunity to craft records like this. Neto is a Brazilian based in Seattle, an acolyte of the wondrous Hermeto Pascoal, with whom he worked extensively prior to relocating to the States. Boukas is a New York-based, largely acoustic guitarist who fell head-over-heels for Brazilian music years ago and hasn’t looked back. An educator at the New School in the jazz department, he too is deep under the spell of Pascoal.

The material the duo explores is a latticework mix of their originals and Pascoal’s songs. In the main, Boukas engages his nylon-string guitar these on 14 duets, and the results are unrelentingly pretty, delivered with an unmistakable earnestness. After a while, though, Boukas’ more-than-occasional vocal accompaniment wears a bit thin: too much bob-a-doo-wee/bob-a-doo-wow wordless warbling. His voice is not without charm, but it would have lent more to the date had he brought Portuguese lyrics to these songs where appropriate.