Michel Camilo: Solo

Michel Camilo intends his first solo album, perhaps overliterally titled Solo (Telarc), to serve as a personal statement; it’s divided into four chapters of three tracks each, with each chapter containing a Camilo original, a Brazilian song and a jazz standard. Camilo’s personal side evidently does not inspire much of his barn-burning playing of Latin works; only his original compositions “Un Son” and “Suntan” really work up a sweat rhythmically, and both come near the end of the album, with “Suntan” (a reworking of an early composition) making for a triumphant close. These are balanced by the slow impressionistic journey of “A Dream” and the doleful, repetitive tread of the overlong “Reflections.” His performances of the Brazilian songs (two each by Francis Hime and Antonio Carlos Jobim) shun extroversion for a quiet, extremely intense lyricism, except for the splashier “Corcovado.” Camilo gives “‘Round Midnight” a real top-to-bottom shakeup, but the other standards stay within normal interpretive parameters, sweet and swinging with appealing harmonic shading. On Solo, then, the personal is mostly contemplative, deeply felt and exquisitely played; those wanting rowdier fun should pick up one of Camilo’s less personal albums.