Lágrimas Mexicanas

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bill Frisell,VINICIUS CANTUáRIA
LABELS: NAIVE
PERFORMER: Vinicius Cantuária (vocals, percussion & guitar), Bill Frisell (guitar)
CATALOGUE NO: NJ 621011

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Bill Frisell’s continuing ability to surprise has long since ceased to be surprising, but despite having been a guest on each other’s projects for many years this airily-recorded Mexican-themed collaboration with the Brazilian songwriter/musician Vinicius Cantuária manages to be something else again.

We don’t need any more conventional Latin-lounge twitterings, thank you very much, so it’s to Cantuária’s immense credit that his delicate song structures and gently persuasive vocal style draw with an elegant dignity on the traditions of the region while also evoking Ponce and Villa-Lobos. Frisell, usefully, does what he does best, which is turn up and be Bill Frisell. His understated but playfully tangential playing is both subtle enough to handle this material and distinctive enough to develop it in attention-holding ways.

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It’s hardly reasonable to expect an album of Latin-folk ballads to rearrange anyone’s whole musical worldview and this one is no exception, but it’s very likeable stuff. Roger Thomas