Guilherme Monteiro – Air (2009)

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For Brazilian guitarist Guilherme Monteiro, this was his first album — but looking at his long list of accomplishments tells you already that there’s nothing rookie about it. Having studied at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance and plied his trade in NYC since 2000, Monteiro has worked with leading lights such as Ron Carter, Kenny Werner, Grady Tate, Slide Hampton, Lee Konitz, Eliane Elias, Randy and Michael Brecker, Cristian McBride, Kurt Elling, and David Byrne. He’s worked in various combos that advance the cause of Brazilian-based music, such as Forro In The Dark. Now a highly experienced hand in his late thirties, Monteiro unveils Air, an album full of elegance, sweet sounding harmonies and great group interplay. Backing up Monteiro are Jerome Sabagh (tenor saxophone), Ben Street (bass), Jochen Ruckert (drums), along with some guest players sprinkled throughout.

“Peace” starts off the album with that mellifluous, airy fusion-ish jazz pioneered by Pat Metheny at the beginning of his career. But Monteiro isn’t content to settle into that style. “Retrato De Um Forro” takes much of its inspiration from the culturally rich Northeastern region of Brazil; Lila Downs provides her world-renowned voice to the song and sings nimbly around a pifano (a small, high-pitched flute). “Longing For The Future” highlights Monteiro with a classical guitar playing a lovely ballad. On “Caraiava,” Monteiro plays his warm-toned electric guitar around and alongside Sabagh’s sax, which coaxes out the melody rather nicely. For the title song “Air”, the leader effectively gives a Brazilian touch to a vintage soul-jazz vibe.

All but two of the ten songs were composed by Monteiro, but he finds way to inject his distinct approach to Brazilian jazz into a wide range of moods. For those looking for new music inspired by that country but isn’t the run-of-the-mill kind of Brazilian music, Air is like a breath of…you know the rest.


S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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