Brazilian jazz, when played by a native Brazilian group such the Hamilton De Holanda's quintet, is a far cry more interesting than what usually passes for Brazilian jazz. Holanda combines his native Choro music with foreign musical styles such as Bossa Nova and fusion jazz without losing its essential Brazilian nature.
Holanda's quintet has an unusual assemblage of instruments; 10-string mandolin, guitar, harmonica, bass and drums. But they deliver as rich and full a set of musical parts as any horn band. Holanda wrote all the music on Brasilianos. And while the styles and time signatures vary, each composition has a powerful rhythmic underpinnings mated with a contrapuntal melody line using multiple over-layered harmonies. It forms some of the most cohesive and multi-textured music you'll ever hear.
Hamilton De Holanda's professional career began in 2001 when he won "Best Instrumentalist" awards in two categories, academic music and popular music, in the 2001 "Icatu Hartford of Arts" competition. The prize was a year of overseas study. Holanda chose Paris. In 2007 he was nominated for the Latin Grammy for the Best Instrumental recording for "Brasilianos." When asked about his music Holanda says, "It is a music that does not need labels to exist. It just has to be beautiful."
Speaking of beautiful, the sound quality on this album is absolutely top-notch. A less than pristine recording could easily have obscured the subtle interplay between the harmonica and the mandolin. But recording engineer Daniel Musy and mastering engineer Marcos Saboia captured every nuance of Holanda's quintet's playing.
Naturally, Holanda's music is grouped with Brazilian jazz. But, his music isn't so much Brazilian jazz as it is acoustic jazz performed by a Brazilian band. And these guys can play...