Recorded in LA and Brazil in early 2021, and released via Tokyo label, Rings, Rio Bonito boasts ten sinuous, sun-kissed jazzual themes from guitarist Fabiano Do Nascimento, inventively arranged by Hermeto Pascoal’s bassist Itibere Zwarg, and played beautifully by his collective of musicians.
It’s loose, relaxed music-making to ease in the new year: gentle sambas coaxed expertly into life, as on the opener, Starfish: melodic lines conjuring up days lost to the sound of the surf – sun, sea and sand combining to wash over the synapses, life reduced to the shimmer of the waves, harmonics harnessed in the pursuit of a Platonic idealism.
Strings For My Guitar is exactly that – a wonderful, flowing exchange between the massed strings and the solo guitar, hitting some of the sweet spots so often targeted by the likes of Sault or 4 Hero – a lustrous concoction of swirling, dramatic swoons and soulful keys. Beautiful.
Theme In C ramps up the complexity, cascading runs from the players jutting off at pleasingly obtuse angles, before the familiar guitar tropes enter for an offbeat slice of MPB-inspired goodness. Very clever and pretty darn cool: a ray of light in January’s darkness for sure.
Retratos rounds things off in upbeat mode. Again there’s plenty going on thematically, the guitar underpinning more stylish strings, the melodies spinning artfully through the night, swinging gently but insistently – the sound of musical expertise lightly wielded, of lives forged in the treble clef.
It’s a lovely collection, all told, something perfectly-wrought, well thought-out and handled with no little aplomb. Come the summer and it’ll sound even better – but right now it’s certainly chasing those midwinter blues away. Recommended for the jazz lovers and the Brazileiro crews alike.
Fabiano Do Nascimento & Itiberê Zwarg Collective’s Rio Bonito is out now, on Tokyo’s Rings.