Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Figueiredo delights in two musical contexts

Diego Figueiredo
Brazilian guitarist Diego Figueiredo brought his acoustic guitar and deep musical savvy to Port Charlotte FL on Monday, March 9 in his first visit to the Charlotte County Jazz Society stage. He delivered mightily in two different contexts: a solo guitar set and a closing set in a swinging trio.

Figueiredo, 39, blended Brazilian, Latin and standard fare with ease throughout the night. There were several sambas, a few of Antonio Carlos Jobim's classic bossa novas and even the most famous Brazilian waltz, Dilermande Reis' "If She was Asks." 

Everything he chose to play was imbued with eye-popping technique delivered with his finger-pick style that combines melody and bass lines, and percussive accents from his left hand sliding down the fret board. His right hand is something else, with his extra-long fingernails being the picks.

On this night, Figueiredo worked without any set list or preplanning. He walked on stage, sat down and played whatever inspired him at the moment. The night's lone original, though he has many to his credit, was a tune called "Soul" that showcased his style.

After a Spanish-tinged take on Cuban composer Osvaldo Farrés' "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps," a hit back in the day for both Nat King Cole and Doris Day, he offered a five-part medley of jazz standards. “The Lady is a Tramp,” “Tea for Two,” and “Stella by Starlight” led into Pat Metheny’s instrumental classic “James.” Glenn Miller’s orchestra theme “Moonlight Serenade” closed it out. Figueiredo finished the set with a fiery take on Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona’s flamenco homage “Malagueña.” 

Marty Morell
The second set was the intense groove portion of the evening, with Marty Morell (pianist Bill Evans’ longest-tenured drummer) and Cuban-born bassist Mauricio Rodriguez joining the program. It was Morell’s first opportunity to play with the guitarist, and only Rodriguez’ second time. They instantly locked into a swinging groove that enabled Figueiredo to focus more on melody.

Classic sambas and one bolero led to the night’s tour de force, a free improvisation in which none of the players knew where the other was headed musically. 
Mauricio Rodriguez

Asking the audience to pick three musical keys (in this case B-flat, E-minor and G), Figueiredo crafted a clever instant melody on which the three players built, with each segment featuring one of those key signatures. Rodriguez’ brawny bass attack stood out here, while Morell paired one drumstick and one brush to deliver varied accents. This excursion resulted in a piece of music never heard before – and that will never be heard again. Oh, if only a tape had been rolling.

They closed out the evening with three very different tunes: Jobim’s “Desafinado,” Paul McCartney’s Beatles’ hit “Yesterday,” and a Duke Ellington repertoire classic, Juan Tizol’s “Caravan,” which is always a crowd pleaser. 

A crowd estimated at 285 turned out for the CCJS concert at the Cultural Center of Charlotte County’s William H Wakeman III Theater.
Rodriguez, Figueiredo, Morell

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