Personnel: Daniel Santiago (acoustic guitar); Gabriel Grossi (harmonica); Andr‚ Vasconcellos (electric bass); Marcio Bahia (drums).
Audio Mixer: Daniel Musy.
Liner Note Author: Hamilton de Holanda.
Arrangers: Hamilton de Holanda; Daniel Santiago.
At age 30, Hamilton de Holanda is arguably the most virtuosic mandolinist in Brazil today, a worthy successor to the legacies of Armandinho, Joel Nascimento, and the late Jacob do Bandolim. On Brasilianos, performing on a 10-string version of the instrument, de Holanda fronts Hamilton de Holanda Quintet featuring Daniel Santiago on acoustic guitar, Andr‚ Vasconcellos on electric bass, M rcio Bahia on drums, and Gabriel Grossi on the chromatic harmonica. Out of the gate, from the first moments of the opening track "Pedra da Macumba," de Holanda and band establish their superior jazz chops, executing complex time changes and deftly navigating tricky melodic and harmonic variations. De Holanda is a speed demon on the track, spilling out rippling lead runs, which the supporting musicians have no trouble keeping up with. But technique and tempo are not the only tricks they have up their sleeves. The band returns to the quick pace on occasion (the back-to-back "Procession," a Gilberto Gil composition, and "Forever"), but the bulk of the set is gentler and more studied, concerned with conveying emotion rather than impressing. Drawing on, but not enslaved by, the Brazilian samba tradition, de Holanda's complex arrangements on the ballads flirt with jazz and other African-derived traditions while never losing sight of the music's inherently Brazilian properties. But just to remind you that these world-class players are capable of dazzling, the album closes with the ridiculously intricate "Hermeto Is Playing," whose title nods to the notoriously eccentric Brazilian jazz master Hermeto Pascoal and would no doubt please his outr‚ sensibilities.. ~ Jeff Tamarkin