Archive for September 6th, 2011

Russ Hewitt – Alma Vieja

In 2009, I wrote about guitarist/composer Russ Hewitt’s first album ‘Bajo el Sol’ and I think it was clear how excited I was by it.

I’m happy to have the follow-up ‘Alma Vieja’ on my desk right now so let’s give this a serious listen now…

If the sexy bounce of the opening song ‘Pelourinho’ doesn’t make you sway right away, then you’re a lost cause. It has elements of calypso, African music and spicy hints of gypsy music running through it. In fact, look up Pelourhino on Wikipedia to see just how many cultural references are drawn together here. The elegant production showcases Hewitt’s pretty acoustic tone gorgeously. And when I say ‘pretty’, well see what I mean on ‘¡Samba Samba!’. This song will wash over you, as it does over me, time after time…

‘Smooth Jazz’ DJs should be picking up straight away on the radio-friendly and catchy ‘Pacific Sunrise’. Guest saxophonist Michael Lington will be familiar to many readers and his mellow alto blends well with the organ and acoustic guitar here – it takes centre stage and the solid rhythm section conspires to make this a song that should be on everyone’s playlist. I love Bob Parr’s winding bassline on the sinewy ‘Dhanyavad’. Since I’m on a Wikipedia mission, the word means ‘heartfelt thanks’ in Hindi. Normally, I’m not a lover of violin but here Charlie Bisharat uses it perfectly. There is a passion that, I concede, only violin truly conveys.

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