Inverso by Kiko Loureiro – reviewed by Chris Mann
guitarist and composer Kiko began his musical studies at age 11.
He was only 19 years old when, after years of gigging with
local bands in São Paulo, he was invited to join the newly-formed rock
band Angra. The success
of their debut album “Angels Cry” in 1993 opened many new markets
to the band, such as Europe and Japan.
During his live work with Angra, Kiko has always found time to
share his knowledge by giving guitar clinics and workshops around the
debut solo album “No Gravity” had a worldwide release in 2005,
followed in 2006 by the release of Kiko’s second solo CD “Universo
Inverso”. This second solo album takes an entirely different
direction from the first one. Kiko is joined by three respected
Brazilian and Cuban musicians for a Latin jazz-oriented set.
this new direction may have surprised some of Angra’s diehard metal
fans, it has received positive critical acclaim worldwide.
It’s certainly a coup for Vernon Neilly’s Boosweet Records
to have issued this in the USA in 2007.
the opening bars of the energetic Feijão de Corda, the sound
of Loureiro’s guitar is powerful and electric – after repeated
hearings, I hear this in my head and can’t resist singing it.
As this song progresses, I can hear amazing technique and a
great sense of humour. Yaniel
Mato’s piano solo cuts right across the rhythm but never sounds out
of place or less than satisfying. Ojos
Verdes kicks off in a very grand Al Di Meola style and mellows
into an offbeat ¾ verse section. The
comparison with Al Di Meola is unavoidable because of the powerful
tone, the “light-and-shade” and the guitar/piano interplay.
I also hear a technique called – musos correct me here –
intro to Havana is muscular but when the bass and drums lighten
up you’ve got a flying Latin-flavoured song that really draws you
in. There’s some great
string-bending here for you axe-fans.
I love the light cymbal work on much of this song.
Such energy has to be balanced out and the piano intro to the
lovely Anastácia promises a soothing, melodic song.
That’s just what you get. There
is light and shade but the contrast is not as striking as it is in
some songs on the album.
love the clever Monday Mourning title.
This Latin-tinged ballad moves beautifully and there is a heavy
hint of blues in there. This is
a great ensemble piece – the bass, drums and piano do just enough to
support that lovely jazzy guitar (which sounds like a semi-acoustic)
and the guitar itself isn’t working too hard on this gorgeous,
mellow tune. The rhythm of Arcos
de Lapa is again very samba-influenced and Loureiro’s wild and
passionate guitar sits surprisingly well over the top.
The sound of this guitar in the midrange is very sexy and Al Di
Meola fans (like me) should just love
is more sombre than the title suggests and here that semi-acoustic
tone lends the right warmth. By this point, the range of guitar styles you’re hearing should
really have impressed you. On
this song there is the type of “classic” jazz sound that Norman
Brown fans (like me) go nuts for. Time
for bassman Carlinhos Noronha to step forward.
Anyone who’s ever tried to copy Jeff Berlin, Joe Hubbard or
Jimmy Haslip will realise what bass talent opens Camino a Casa.
Noronha’s bass is joined by blazing guitar, staccato piano
and some great snare work from Cuca Teixeira that bears comparison
with the astounding Dave Weckl. This
is right up there – passionate, technical and spine-tingling.
starts off as a solo guitar piece then develops into a dreamy number.
The jazz-rock intensity has dropped again and we start to
appreciate how gifted Kiko Loureiro is as a songwriter.
It’s easy to imagine other players covering this song in the
future. This must be
breathtaking if he plays it live. The
dark piano intro to the wistful Recuerdos ushers in the only
song on the CD to feature acoustic guitar.
Throughout the song these two instruments share the limelight.
Lovers of Earl Klugh’s less funky work (like me) will enjoy
this – and love the dark streak of “saudade” that runs through
it. It closes an album of
extraordinary contrasts with great style.
hope that this CD is heard by a varied audience because Kiko
Loureiro’s music has the ability to please lots of people. “Universo Inverso” is fantastic because Loureiro – who
is already being spoken of as a “guitar God” – is playing with
us. I’ve just been listening
to clips from “No Gravity” and I can honestly say I’ve never
heard a guitarist playing straight-out rock who blew me away like
that! That includes Jan
Akkerman and Eddie Van Halen, both of whom I admire immensely.
we’re jazz fans aren’t we and when this 34-year old virtuoso turns
his hand to jazz and jazz-rock it is something special, something we
can’t ignore. I really have been singing the rockier parts of this album and that’s rare.
Just before I got this CD to review, I bought “Casino” by
Al Di Meola. I first
heard it and was astonished by it almost 30 years ago in France.
I hope and believe that a student of French will look through a
friend’s music collection in 2035, play this in whatever form it can
then be played and go “wow!”
Producer – Kiko Loureiro