Title - 'Chromatic Diaolgues'
Artist - Gustavo Assis-Brasil
One of the most, to my mind, under-rated and yet influential musicians of our time, the extraordinary work of Gustavo Assis-Brasil has to, quite literally, be "seen" to be believed. Ergo, once you put this disc into your player, hit play, and then close the shades, sit back, close your eyes, and allow the created fantasies of Assis-Brasil's newly-conceived album, Chromatic Dialogues to bring your brain to life.
NPR have already picked Chromatic Dialogues - which is a great title for any album such as this, if ever there was - as one of the Best of 2016, and rightfully so. But for those not in the know quite yet (which is why I aforementioned "under-rated"), Gustavo Assis-Brasil is a Brazilian American jazz guitarist, currently based in Boston, and considered a major pioneer in organizing the study and development of the hybrid picking technique for guitar.
In 1999 he received a full scholarship to get his Master's degree at Berklee College of Music and The Boston Conservatory. His main teachers were Mick Goodrick, Wayne Krantz, Ed Tomassi, Dave Fiuczynski, Rick Peckham, and Larry Baione. He has also studied with Charlie Banacos, and Prasanna. In 2005, Gustavo released the book Hybrid Picking for Guitar which went on to sell a wealth of copies worldwide.
Here on Chromatic Diaolgues, his sixth solo album, the accomplished guitarist displays his remarkably fluid linear concept combined with a distinctive, ultra-sophisticated harmonic sense from the off with the upbeat, fast-paced 'Gee'. Next up is the second longest track on the new album, the over five minutes long 'Always Here (Prenda Minha)' which is backed by both the frenetic 'CC' and the short 'Dialogue 1'.
One of my personal favorites of this album is the crisp, guitar and piano artistry of 'Olivia' (courtesy of Vardan Ovsepian on the keys), which is in turn backed by the beautiful sways and swirls of 'SM'. Next up is the short pairing of both 'Study #5' and 'Dialogue 2' (a cut that sounds like he recorded it in his shower!), before the longest track on the album comes to the fore, 'Pro Sapo'. A track that really showcases Assis'Brasil's unique take on his guitar play - which is essentially just an instrument on which pitch can be varied to him - the album (which was recorded in Boston, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh - October and December 2015, and mixed and mastered in by Dave Darlington at Bass Hit Recording, NYC) is rounded out by two more small pieces in both 'Dialogue 4 (About Allan)' and the fifty-five second 'Dialogue 3 (Ola Rob)'.
Tony Grey - bass (1, 3, 4, 6)
Mauricio Zottarelli - drums (1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10)
José Pienasola - bass (2, 5, 9, 11)
Vardan Ovsepian - piano & keyboards (2, 3, 5, 6, 8)
Gustavo Assis-Brasil - guitars (all tracks)
CD Purchase Link