Thursday, October 18, 2012

Waldemar Bastos Classics Of My Soul Enja 2012

Out of the ashes of a place that has seen as much human suffering and despair as the nation of Angola comes a voice that attempts to transcend the more traditional concept of world music into a universal message of optimism and joy.

Of course enlisting the aid of The London Symphony Orchestra and jazz piano veteran Keiko Matsui only sweetens the deal as Waldemar Bastos continues to move through the cross-cultural landscape that is the bond between Africa and Brazil.

Bastos is so well respected on a global level that he is included in Tom Moon's iconic book 1,000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die. Classics Of My Soul could easily garner a second mention. A somewhat conceptualized recording to celebrate the spirit of the people of Angola and not a self serving ego primer as we find more common among certain American artists, Bastos successfully pushed not only himself but an outstanding collection of musicians to create what may be arguably his finest work to date.

"Humbi Humbi" is a song of spiritual fulfillment and the basic human condition of happiness as it reflects in our daily life. "Aurora" is another song of hope and one of four beautiful melodies featuring the London Symphony Orcestra. "N'duva" features jazz pianist Keiko Matsui and pays homage to a singer that was loved in his homeland by many whose name referenced a bird with feathers of uncountable colors.

The wonderful aspect of the Bastos recording is in the inability to pigeon hole the music into any specific genre or global labeling so often used as self imposed limitations. Classics Of My Soul stands on singular merit as an artistic statement of peace and hope for the future without ever crossing the self indulgent bridge of the more commercially oriented pop music of our day. A truly magnificent recording.

Tracks: M'bir! M'bir*; Humbi Humbi Yangue; Teresa Ana; Tata Ku Matadi; Por Do Sol; Aurora*; Muxima; Calcao Roto no Rabo; Perto e Longe*; N'Duva**; Velha Xica*

* - Features The London Symphony Orchestra
**- Features Keiko Matsui

Personnel: Waldemar Bastos: lead and backing vocals, acoustic guitar; Derek Nakamoto: acoustic piano, b3, synth bass, synthesizers & rhythm loops; Mitchell Long: additional acoustic guitars.
Additional Musicians: Bass: Brad Cummings (1,3,7), Reggie Hamilton (9), Rob Chiarelli (5); Percussion: Luis Conte (2,3,4,5,6); Background Vocals: Valerie Pinkston, Lynne Fiddmont, Fred White (3,7,9), Emiko Susilo (2,11); Trumpet: Sal Cracchiolo (4,7); Trombone: Ira Nepus (4); Accordion: Bill Brendle (8); Cello Solo: Larry Corbet (Aurora); Viola Solo: Darrin McCann: (Aurora).