Andrew Scott Plays Almeida
Format: COMPACT DISC
This release is a tribute to the genius of Laurindo Almeida. Laurindo Almeida was a “crossover” musician before the term was coined. As a successful soloist he made the debut recording of Villa-Lobos’ Guitar Concerto and worked with notable musicians in the jazz world such as the Modern Jazz Quartet and Stan Kenton. He was a busy session player and composed for Hollywood movies, his last movie being the underscore for Clint Eastwood’s ‘Unforgiven’ in 1992. It is perhaps Almeida’s work as an arranger that most informed his ability to translate orchestral devices to just the two hands of the guitarist. The theme in Blue Moon is first presented above an arpeggiated accompaniment that will look and feel familiar to the classical guitarist with a bass line which is quite independent. The melody is clearly stated throughout and the drama is created by the bass and inner parts which become busier and develop around the melody while the chords are voiced with a clear line in each part. In ‘Over the Rainbow’ Almeida adds an introduction and coda which extends the scale of the piece, he uses a subtly different accompaniment each time the theme is stated and between the phrases there are sweeping arpeggios that remind one of the lush string sections from the MGM movies. The writing in ‘Ebb Tide’ is ingenious as each suspension in the harmony resolves to yet another suspension to reflect the yearning of the lyrics and the sadness of the melody. Intermezzo and Laura are substantial concert pieces. The transitory melody of Intermezzo is reproduced note for note with a constantly changing accompaniment to characterize each section of the music. In ‘Laura,” Almeida appears to be thinking orchestrally as he uses a vast array of textures to recreate the essence of the original score. His genius lies in his knowledge of harmony, fingerboard georgraphy, and his ability to create beautiful accompaniments which sound rich and full, and are also satisfying to play.