Saturday, August 4, 2012

Marius Gundersen Visual Music -Retrato Brasileiro PJRCD 1010 2012

Having long held to the belief that cover art should have some sort of connection to a release no matter how distant, Visual Music may be one of the finest examples of this concept. Of course in the day of the digital download, cover art much like a modern day newspaper is going the way of an analog clock, the dvd and is perhaps the next sonic dinosaur to be done away with.

What is even more amazing is that this highly photographed and arguably king of Norwegian classical guitar would pull of such a bright and breezy organic presentation of Brazilian music. When one thinks of Norway and European jazz in particular then a stark, cold, and minimalist approach to improvisational music lingers in the back of your mind whether you admit it or not. A solid and incredibly well thought out presentation of both Brazilian classic from artist such as Jobim, Toquinho and his own compositions, Gundersen shatters preconceived stereotypes with relative ease making a modern jazz release that is a perfect display of his technical proficiency but a wonderfully authentic artistic statement as well.

Visual Music is a joint project between photographer Tomas Moss and Gundersen where the visual and audio presentation and fused as one for a wider experience. Simply put, this joint presentation is genius in simplicity and scope thus tying together the visceral and cerebral for a unified presentation like none other. More information on this concept can be found at

Included on this effort are stellar vocals from Beate Slettevold Lech with Luis Landa-Schreitt handling the percussion duties and Magnar Olsen is on bass. A delightfully zen like less is more approach has Gundersen front and center and with what could possibly have been turned into a more generic and commercial approach is instead a far more interesting fusion of the jazz sensibilities of Brazilian music and flavor in what is close to a more modern classical presentation.

The Antonio Carlos Jobim cover of the "Girl From Ipanema" may be one of the best covers of this particular tune I have heard. Gundersen's originals are carefully placed through out the release and are straight from what is appearing to be straight from his wheelhouse in terms of his obvious love for Brazilian music. Were it not for a strong working knowledge of Brazilian music then Gundersen's compositions could pass for overlooked standard of the Brazilian scene and may actually be standards in waiting. The Brazilian genius Toquinho has the tune " Tarde em Itapua" covered and with dazzling results.

To tackle some of the finest compositions to come out of Brazil in this fashion show Gundersen as the "real deal" and a name that should be breaking well here in the United States with continued effort. Artistically gifted and a technical phenom, Marius Gundersen is certainly a name to remember. An acoustic take on Brazilian flavor that is as solid from cover to cover as any release you may run across.

5 Stars.

From a 2007 concert via You Tube

Tracks from the disc include: Tempo de Futebol; Passeio no Rio; Retrato Braileiro; Danza Brasileira; Tarde em Itapua; Cachoeiras de Paraty; Saudade - Piraja, Salvado; Portas brasileiras; Estrela da Manha - Paraty; Caixote - Copacabana; Girl From Ipanema; Luiza, Felicidade; Corcovado; Abaete; Arpoador; Parati; Obrgado.

The release "may" be only available from Amazon via import status. So you can start your sonic quest there if interested. Certainly check on face book and some of the more common on line sites if interested. Naturally be sure and hit for additional info as well.