Adventure Music AM1026-2

Brasilianos with the Hamilton de Holanda Quintet is high-octane, extremely virtuoso mandolin playing in the Brazilian tradition of Jacob do Bandolim, Joel Nascimento and Armandinho at the far edge of MPB, Musica Popular Brasileira. Its very modern context anticipates what Bela Fleck might do on his banjo well south of the border, mixing it up with afro sambas, baiãos, bossas, tropical waltzes, hybrid Euro/African rhythms and a cracker jack ensemble.

Using an added low C string, De Holanda expands the tonal palette of his chosen Tercio Ribeiro 2004 mandolin and also sits in on Irish bouzuki on two tracks. A few years of touring with his present collaborators and recording with the likes of Mike Marshall, Hermeto Pascoal, Joao Basco, Marco Pereira, Richard Galliano and Cesara Evora put him in the high seat for this, his maiden voyage on the Adventure Music Label and the first recording in quintet formation, with Daniel Santiago on acoustic guitar, André Vansconcellos on e-bass, Márco Bahia on drums and Gabriel Grossi on 64-voice chromatic harmonica.

Flamenco-reminiscent arpeggios; devilish high-speed syncopations applying extreme duress on ensemble work only to come off like a dream; unexpected time gates; scintillating tremolos following bass lines in lock step; sophisticated harmonic progressions; dreamy Tropicana melodies; sneaky percussion art; gorgeous harmonica riffs; suave guitar work - Brasilianos, while recognizably Brazilian, does reach far across national borders. Or, as Hamilton puts it himself in the opening liner notes when talking about the emerging virtuosic age and natural ability of musicians, "based on the most important names in Brazilian Instrumental music, Pixinguinha, Jacob, Baden, Egberto, Toninho, Raphael and in the world music like Jazz, Flamenco, Cuban and African, these young musicians create, without taking notice, an authentic way to express their art."

Not a deliberate crossover, Brasilianos is instead what happens when conservatory-level technical and compositional chops meet eclecticism and an open ear for global trends - athletic and dense music that's international in appeal yet true to its country's best antecedents. In fact, the closer "Hermeto is playing" is so technically advanced that it will remain a contentious number for up-and-comers to try and master at the original diabolical tempo (not a "Minor Pain" as the preceding track is called). Brasilianos is a scorcher...