Anthony Wilson – Campo Belo (2011)

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Guitarist/bandleader Anthony Wilson, son of legendary L.A. composer, pianist and big band bandleader Gerald Wilson, has established himself as an artist in his own right since leading his own records from 1997 on, including a long, ongoing stint in Diana Krall’s band.

Though Anthony chose guitar as his instrument and is quite good at it, bandleading and composing are big strengths of his, too. That much is evident on his eighth release, Campo Belo. This one, though, is a project record: Wilson sought to make a Brazilian-inspired album but without falling back on the familiar theme of festive rhythms, acoustic guitar strumming and yet more Jobim covers.

Instead, Wilson sought to incorporate Brazilian moods and mystique into his own musical vision. However, to make sure that Brazilian spirit was captured, he recorded this CD in Brazil, with all Brazilian musicians. Wilson also kept the arrangements simple, employing a base quartet format that included André Mehmari on piano and accordion, Edu Ribeiro on drums and Guto Wirtti.

If you didn’t know beforehand that this was a Brazilian themed record, you might not have noticed it explicitly, but elements of the Brazilian style find its way into every song, all written by Wilson. Really, it’s just one dimension of the overall mosaic.

Wilson’s guitar gets a starring role, but not because he’s a flashy player; he cites Wes and Kenny as influences but his touch and his tone are all his own, and it’s very tasty.

High points abound: the crisp post-bop tune “After The Flood” has an astoundingly guileful intro, the acoustic guitar based “Elyria” is an inconspicuous blend of Nashville and Rio, and “Campo Belo” is esoteric and a little bluesy at the same time.

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Campo Belo was released by Wilson’s Goat Hill Recordings.

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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