Mike Marshall
Brasil (Duets)
Earthbeat! Traveler (R2 71674)

Mike Marshall, mandolin and guitar; Andy Narell, piano; Edgar Meyer, bass; Jackie Rago, cuatro; Andy Connell, sax; Jovino Santos Neto, piano and melodica; Bela Fleck, banjo; Kaila Flexer, violin; Edgar Meyer, bass; Michael Manring, electric bass

This CD of chorinhos is clearly a labor of love by all of the participants. The listener feels their love of this music. They play in various intimate pairings, which allows one to discern the individual voices in the context of the melody, harmony, and rhythm and the unique synergy between the players and their instruments. I think the concept works as a listening experience.

Mike Marshall, a respected BayArea local, has a longstanding passion for and commitment to this music. He brings impeccable musicianship of his own and exquisite taste in assembling his fine cast of partners.

This is a collection that has the power to get better with subsequent listenings. As the often quick and complex patterns of the tunes begin to lie more familiarly on the brain, one's ears become accustomed to the thrill ride.

Speaking of thrills, listeners are blessed with the passionate and brilliant stylings of pianist/melodica player Jovino Santos Neto on three selections. Jovino was the pianist for over ten years to the legendary Hermeto Pascoal, known for his pushing-the-boundaries music as well as more gentle and romantic works, one of which ends this CD. Jovino embodies all of that, balancing rich, thick harmonies and driving, assertive rhythms with gentle support and backing for Mike's flights on melodies and solos.

Highly recommended. And to Mike, how about another one of these CDs, next time with the Choro Famoso boys!

by Norma Blase

New Sounds - CD Reviews March 2000