Natalie Cressman & Ian Faquini – Guinga (ENG review)

GroundUP – Street Date April 12th 2024
World Music
Natalie Cressman & Ian Faquini – Guinga

Here’s an album just as I like them, which urges us to take an interest in others and their culture. Here, on a very intimate album, it’s both the music and the sweetness of the Portuguese language, as spoken by Brazilians, that invite you to this cultural discovery. Born Carlos Althier de Souza Lemos Escobar, Guinga grew up in Rio de Janeiro absorbing contemporary and folkloric Brazilian music as well as classical, rock, pop, and jazz. Having shaped a creative identity that embraces the characteristic energy of Brazil’s diverse artistic endeavor, Guinga’s legacy lives on in the spirit of creating a voice that is essentially Brazilian while cultivating a universal appeal. This spirit is lovingly captured by trombonist Natalie Cressman and guitarist Ian Faquini in their new album, GUINGA.
The starting protocol may seem like a tightrope act, trombone and guitar; add in the voice, and I remain fascinated by Natalie Cressman’s trombone playing, marked by grace and delicacy. The only trombonist I know capable of such work is Nils Landgren. One may indeed ponder upon what the trombone is, as the image it reflects here draws in the voice, the voices, as is also the case with Nils Landgren. Nicknamed the “daughter of Bossa Nova” during her studies at the Manhattan School of Music, Cressman has always been inspired by Brazilian culture, frequently attending the California Brazil Camp in the mountainous enclave of Cazadero, California, where she met Faquini, a protégé of Guinga teaching at this annual summer gathering.
Unlike most tribute albums celebrating long-gone artists, Guinga’s contributions are at the heart of the recording process. In composing, arranging, and collaborating as a lyricist, Guinga’s ingenuity is matched only by his evocative and often haunting voices. Compact, unassuming, remarkably positioned with no fewer than fourteen songs, the album flows effortlessly like a personal jukebox fueled by an endless roll of Brazilian centavos, unfolding into a delicate mosaic of Guinga’s musical vision.
One remains speechless in the face of such apparent simplicity that actually hides a beautiful complexity. Nowadays, rawness is everywhere, but this album is the opposite, forcing us to replenish ourselves. Cressman and Faquini clearly recognize the nature of their silent stage. “It’s a very noisy world we live in,” they shared, adding, “the gentle subtleties of our music style are like a balm. It’s healing and cathartic to play and experience it as a listener.” In this narrow margin comes a delicate responsibility to frame the type of artistic excellence that Guinga embodies. Guinga does this and much more. By exploring the language inherent to life, love, and the emotional vivacity that transcribes them into music, Cressman and Faquini have created a sophisticated space to feel the joyful resonance through the fluorescent landscape of Guinga’s legendary career.
A moment of exquisite contemplation, that’s the sensation this album will provide you, so discreet that I can’t resist making it a “must-have” in an attempt to make it shine as it deserves.

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

PARIS-MOVE, March 20th 2024


To buy this album

Natalie Cressman’s website

Ian Faquini’s website