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Marco Pereira: A Musical Volcano from Brazil

 Marco Pereira: A Musical 
  Volcano from Brazil

The richness of Marco
Pereira’s full tone is never better demonstrated
than on "Estrela da Manhã" (Morning Star), an evocative moodscape

replete with shadowy intrigues of film-noir intensity. A perfection
of structure and a severe, yet restrained beauty of style characterize
this light 12/8 shuffle that wistfully depicts dawn on Brazil’s Central Plateau.

by: Bruce
Gilman

Possessing that rare quality that has made him an indispensable presence both
on stage and at recording sessions for artists like Milton Nascimento, Gilberto
Gil, and Djavan, composer, producer, arranger, university professor, and guitar
virtuoso Marco Pereira combines the strength of his musical ideas and the
warmth he breathes into them with a superb technique to create dazzling and
inspired music.

Assaulting both the conventional
and the orthodox, his latest solo project, Original, on Guitar Solo
Publications (GSP) covers a considerable stylistic and emotional range with
imagination and elegance, making it eminently approachable.

Opening the program is
"Tio Boros," a spiky and unpredictable samba dedicated to gifted
Brazilian bass player Bororó that overwhelms the listener with an unstoppable
rush of ideas. Underpinned with a partido alto bass line and affixed
by means of the percussive "slap" to a characteristically arpeggiated
Northeastern baião, it is the ideal vehicle to show how a cunning
fusion can take two forms into fertile new territory while retaining the sprit
of the originals.

"Bate-coxa"
(Strike Legs), is an evocative and engaging forró that mixes
distinctive Northeastern rhythms (baião, coco, and xaxado)
with arpeggio motifs and bass patterns that require exacting right hand finger
independence. Pereira, however, is uniformly hot and precise. Demonstrating
sensational form, his voicings, colors, inversions, and arsenal of rhythmic
displacements are masterful.

Discreetly coloristic,
"Flor das Águas," is a lyrically beautiful waltz with an
irresistible wealth of melodic details emerging through Pereira’s formidable
technical command and displayed not by flash, but warmth and sincerity. Offering
moments of tremendous passion and revelation via impressionistic economy,
"Nostálgicas, No. 2" comes from a series of five solo guitar
pieces in the character of the Brazilian serenade (seresta) and was
inspired by Eric Satie’s Gymnopedies.

Pereira derives the tension
here as much from his plangent sound as his dramatic use of space. But the
richness of his full tone is never better demonstrated than on "Estrela
da Manhã" (Morning Star), an evocative moodscape replete with
shadowy intrigues of film-noir intensity. A perfection of structure and a
severe, yet restrained beauty of style characterize this light 12/8 shuffle
that wistfully depicts dawn on Brazil’s Central Plateau.

Lending an intimate spotlight,
"O Choro de Juliana," comes across like an old friend in unfamiliar
company, revealing just how Pereira can thematically move the warmth and feeling
of a choro written for his young daughter closer to the bossa nova
feel. When the tempo flies, as it does in "Sarará," a
choro in almost bebop style, Pereira’s phrasing, attack, and compositional
depth are so thoroughly imbued with individuality that the tune alternately
floats then soars, shimmering like a desert mirage, lifted and kept airborne
by fiery and immaculate playing.

His aptitude for contrapuntal
playing is emphasized on "Tempo de Futebol," a tune executed with
brilliantly crisp articulation that pays tribute to a universal theme in Brazilian
music, soccer. Keeping his thematic logic in perfect focus and the listener
spellbound, Pereira’s concept communicates immediately. And with the bass
line in rhythmic counterpoint during the chorus, the effect is little less
than sensational.

The entire disc has energy,
enthusiasm, and an air of poetic coherence. Unusual timbral palettes and forms
set out a radical program that can be enjoyed as mood music or as something
much more substantial. This inspired and no-nonsense disc works well either
way, and Pereira’s playing throughout is exemplary, bristling.

An unending volcano of
feeling that is always just barely compressed, Marco Pereira, who continues
to challenge tradition while remaining loyal to its essence, has carved out
a niche for himself as a daring and imaginative musician whose playing is
tough, sinewy, and intelligent, whose every work is of value. A clear-cut
personality of undoubted abilities, Pereira is in the finest sense of the
word, an original.

Artist: Marco Pereira


Title: Original

Label: GSP (AJO152)

Date: 2003

Bruce Gilman, music editor for Brazzil magazine, received his Masters
degree in music from California Institute of the Arts. He is the recipient
of three government grants that have allowed him to research traditional
music in China, India, and Brazil. His articles on Brazilian music have
been translated and published in Dutch, German, Portuguese, Serbian, and
Spanish. You can reach him through his e-mail: cuica@interworld.net

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