Vinicius Cantuaria ‘Indio de Apartamento’ (Naïve) 4/5

Brazilian singer-songwriter Vinicius Cantuaria has quietly established a body of work that ranks among the very finest of contemporary Brazilian artists. Furthermore he has expanded his repertoire and collaborators with the superlative ‘Lagrimas mexicanas’ project in tandem with Bill Frisell a career highlight thus far. He returns with a typically melodic and, in places, melancholic album with a host of guest musicians and all but one song are originals. Frisell once again features on three pieces, there is the surprise inclusion of Ryuichi Sakamoto who performs on two and even Norah Jones gets a foots in the door, this time as pianist on one composition. A gently lilting samba ‘Moça feia’ with dissonant piano chords from Sakamoto features Cantuaria at his most seductive and this is definitely a contender for the album’s strongest cut. Similarly uplfiting is ‘Um dia’ which is the ideal antidote to the winter blues. The inclusion of an English duet with Jesse Harris on ‘This time’ is an unexpected bonus which works well and the guitar playing is very Methenyesque. With such a catchy tune, this could be the ideal way to capture a wider audience if ever issued as a single. Frisell re-surfaces on guitar on the gentlest of songs, ‘Chove la fora’ while there is a folksy feel to the duet between Cantuaria and Frisell on ‘Pena estrada’. On ‘Humanas’ the keyboards are used more as a string instrument, yet there is still a pared down sound that is in keeping with the rest of the album. This may be an album that is relatively short in length, yet just like a sensitive Miles Davis classic, it is high on content and that is recommendation enough.

Tim Stenhouse