Monday, September 12, 2016

Ricardo Silveira and John Leftwich - Cosmos (Adventure Music, 2016)

This is a pleasant if unremarkable album of Brazillian tinged jazz with a band led by Ricardo Silveira on guitar and John Leftwich on bass. The album also features Kiko Freitas on drums and the legendary flautist Hurbert Laws. The music remains atmospheric with a light and gentle sense of melodicism woven through the music. Silveira’s acoustic guitar is a focal point for the music, guiding it through various changes and evolution with deft assurance. Leftwich’s deep-rooted bass is a focal point for the music, whether it is acting as an acutely engrained grounding mechanism or soloing and providing support for the other musicians; Leftwich is unflappable and reliable throughout the album. Laws has made many albums of this nature and his light and breathy flute playing swoops and swirls around the music, sometimes framing the other musicians in their improvisations and also developing several solo spots for his own gratification which are pithy and competently handled and charming in their own way. The mild and gentle melodies can be slight at times, to the point where they might just drift away into the ether but the light percussion and subtle brushwork of Freitas keeps everything grounded with sensitive changes in rhythm providing much needed variety in the music. The highlight of the album is “Reflections,” where the gentle vocalizations that the musicians have been adding to the overall sound match with the breathy flute and the guitar and drums providing a sensibility that is more urgent than many of the other tracks on the album. There is subtle interplay among the main trio that frames Laws’ flute soloing and also wisely provides him with space to move. This makes for solid background music as is does nothing to spook the horses. The music is pleasant mainstream jazz that is well played and thoughtful.  Cosmos -

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