Hamilton de Holanda and Gonzalo Rubalcaba – Collab (ENG review)

Sony Music Brazil – Street date July 19th 2024
Hamilton de Holanda and Gonzalo Rubalcaba

This album is a collaboration between two scholars, one from jazz (Gonzalo Rubalcaba) and the other (Hamilton de Holanda) from Brazilian music. The result is an album of the highest class, where each note is carefully weighed, sublime, magnified, and one could even say painted, as the images they produce are both poetic and powerful.

“I’ve been listening to Gonzalo Rubalcaba for many years. He’s one of those musicians whose sound is immediately recognizable. I’ve always wanted to play with him because I felt that he was doing things that resonated with my vision of music, especially with his national accent and international outlook,” reflected Holanda.

“Hamilton is a Maestro. I’m sure the adjective ‘virtuoso’ has been used many times to describe him, and yes, he is. But he’s not just a virtuoso in terms of mastering the instrument with which he conveys music,” shared Rubalcaba. “He is a virtuoso of thought, a virtuoso of ideas, he is a virtuoso in many aspects that go far beyond mere mastery of this instrument that, incidentally, he once again masters perhaps like few others in the world.”

And it is true that when listening to this work, one goes far beyond the realm of jazz or Brazilian music; it is impossible not to refer to the works of Erik Satie or even Purcell, who made silences forms of shadows to better highlight and illuminate particular notes or melodic phrases. Earlier this year, the duo met at the legendary Criteria Studio in Miami and created the incredible “Collab.” The fusion of Rubalcaba’s Afro-Cuban jazz with Holanda’s Brazilian influences creates a unique synergy. The result is music that is both rooted in tradition and innovative in its approach, celebrating the richness and diversity of Afro-Cuban and Brazilian musical traditions. The guest appearances by Brazilian stars, composer and singer João Bosco, and harmonica player Gabriel Grossi, add additional layers of depth and meaning to the tracks, offering an even richer and more engaging listening experience.

Those of you familiar with Brazilian music will feel inherently at ease with the themes addressed in this album. Although all the works presented may sometimes blur the lines between jazz and Brazilian music, this only serves to enhance the work of each musician. Indeed, each guest seems carried by the energy emanating from Hamilton de Holanda and Gonzalo Rubalcaba. “Listening to the finished album, I feel a sense of gratitude for everything I experience in music and beyond,” concludes Holanda.

It is indeed one of the most exciting albums I have come across from a cultural and sociological perspective in recent years. Rarely do albums create such complicity with artists from such diverse backgrounds ; here, everyone seems to have had the space to surpass themselves, try, propose, attempt something different or new, and it works wonderfully. These are more than enough reasons to place this album in our “Essentials” reference list. And believe me, after numerous listens, I continue to discover this album, which is ultimately as fascinating as it is complex.

Thierry De Clemensat
USA correspondent – Paris-Move and ABS magazine
Editor in chief Bayou Blue Radio, Bayou Blue News

PARIS-MOVE, July 4th 2024

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Incompatibilidade e Gênios (João Bosco & Aldir Blanc)
Blues Lundvall (Gonzalo Rubalcaba)
Mandalagh (Hamilton de Holanda)
Yolanda Anas (Gonzalo Rubalcaba)
Flying Chicken (Hamilton de Holanda)
Silence (Charlie Haden)
Don’t You Worry `Bout A Thing (Stevie Wonder) – feat Gabriel Grossi
Choro Fado (Hamilton de Holanda)
Incompatibilidade de gênios (João Bosco & Aldir Blanc) – feat João Bosco
Transparence (Gonzalo Rubalcaba)
Saudade, Saudade (Maro & John Blanda)