Anthony Wilson & Chico Pinheiro - Nova
Anthony Wilson has long been one of my favorite jazz guitarists. His playing is supremely lyrical, has a warm tone, and excellent taste. He's also one of his generation's most gifted jazz composers. He has a new project now, and record forthcoming with a group called "Nova" - a collaboration with fellow guitarist Chico Pinheiro from Brazil. Chico isn't yet very well known in the US, but that will soon change. He's a phenomenal talent, a post Metheny guitarist equally at home in jazz or Brazilian contexts. Like Anthony he's a very lyrical player, with a wonderful tone, perhaps a bit more flashy in terms of technique, but as Anthony commented in a pre-concert phone interview I did, they have similar ideas and sounds, musical soul mates you might say.
The concert was excellent. Since I was involved with producing the event, as a board member of JazzFresno, I wasn't able to focus too much on the music (as much as the listener in me might like), but what I heard was excellent, if a little less fully textured as their forthcoming CD (which features a keyboard player, and special guests like Ivan Lins, Dori Caymmi, and many others). There aren't too many groups in jazz with a two guitar front line, but Anthony and Chico make it work. They're currently shopping the CD to different record labels, and hope to have it out later this year. I'm eager to see what the general reaction to this group is in the larger jazz world. The Fresno audience loved it, and our on air personalities are really into the CD. Sometimes it takes an unknown name such a Chico a few records to really break into the saturated market that is the world of new jazz albums. Hopefully this one won't be lost in the flood.
In case you can't wait for Nova to be released, you can download some live tracks from Chico's other bands on his website here.