Mandolin player Hamilton de Holanda never sleeps. If he’s not on tour somewhere in the world, then he can be found in a recording studio. For this album, Hamilton combined the two: he recorded the album in studios at various places all over the world. In each place he invited a very special guest. All to the dedication of the Brazilian composer/musician he admires since his childhood: Pixinguinha.
Pixinguinha (1897-1973) is, of course, considered as one of Brazil’s greatest composers of choro, the instrumental music that lays a bridge between traditional Brazilian music and (European) popular music, with a jazzy approach. Hamilton de Holanda has been performing the style in all its aspects during his young but impressive career. On World of Pixinguinha he features compositions by the choro master. He dragged along some special guests to join in with this dedication. And they all did an outstanding job in their duets with the mandolin player. The presence of French accordion player Richard Galliano (Cannes, 1950) is a perfect example of what choro is all about. Richard mixes his musette (French accordion music) with the Brazilian approach of Hamilton! Other guests who underline the meaning of choro by laying the bridge between their country and Brazil are Portuguese pianist Mário Laginha (Lisbon, 1960), Italian pianist Stefano Bollani (Milan, 1972) and American master trumpeter Wynton Marsalis (New Orleans, 1961). The lyrical Mário Laginha is featured on the most beautiful and sentimental moment on the album: the waltz Pixinguinha composed in 1917, “Rosa.” The performance is of an extraordinary beauty. It shows the greatness of its composer in a heartbreaking way. The contribution of Stefano Bollani is of course not less impressive. His approach is of a more playful nature. He and Hamilton have great fun together, teasing each other with their dazzling instrumental skills. Wynton Marsalis, as always, keeps the American tradition alive but he also understands the link with Brazil in his performance of “Um a Zero.” Then there’s pianist Omar Sosa (Camaguey, Cuba, 1965) who paints “Yaô” with fresh tints of Afro-Cuban colors. His also piano playing countryman Chucho Valdés (Havana, 1941) adds a little more salsa in the music.
Each musical guest brings in some musical presents for Pixinguinha’s compositions. Brazilian pianist André Mehmari (Niterói, 1977) joins in for the only track that was not composed by Pixinguinha. It’s a joyful etude Hamilton wrote as a tribute to the master “Capricho de Pixinguinha.”
One of the two not-duo line-ups comes when Hamilton invites Odette Ernest Dias (Paris, 1929) on flute and Carlos Malta (Rio, 1960) on tenor sax. With “Carinhoso” they end the album in a jazzy way. The other track that’s not a duet is the album’s opener: an impressive solo performance by De Holanda of “Naquele Tempo,” a musical tour de force that sets the tone for the high standard of the performances on the CD.
No doubt: this is again a perfect album by Hamilton de Holanda.
Hamilton de Holanda
World of Pixinguinha
Adventure Music AM1091 2 (2015)
- Naquele Tempo (Pixinguinha – Benedito Lacerda) solo
- Lamentos (Pixinguinha – Vinícius de Moraes) w/ Chucho Valdés
- Agradecendo (Pixinguinha) w/ Richard Galliano
- Canção da Odalisca (Pixinguinha) w/ Stefano Bollani
- Um a Zero (Pixinguinha – Benedito Lacerda)(Pixinguinha – Gastão Viana) w/ Wynton Marsalis
- Ingênuo (Pixinguinha – Benedito Lacerda) w/ Richard Galliano
- Rosa (Pixinguinha – Otávio de Souza) w/ Mário Laginha
- Seu Lourenço no Vinho (Pixinguinha – Benedito Lacerda) w/ Stefano Bollani
- Benguelê (Pixinguinha – Gastão Viana) w/ Chucho Valdés
- Yaô (Pixinguinha – Gastão Viana) w/ Omar Sosa
- Capricho de Pixinguinha (Hamilton de Holanda) w/ André Mehmari
- Carinhoso (Pixinguinha – João de Barro) w/ Odette Ernest Dias & Carlos Malta