World & Latin

LAGQ Goes South


The Los Angeles Guitar Quartet is the kind of group that takes the technical aspects of their instruments and their music deadly seriously, and yet at the same time has a lot of fun challenging the widely accepted definitions of classical guitar music. LAGQ Brazil, the quartet's fourth Telarc release, takes the plunge into the traditions of Brazilian music. Recorded at George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch in Marin County, CA, the album features the music of Sergio and Odair Assad, Marco Pereira, Hermeto Pascoal, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Heitor Villa-Lobos and others. With a new album comes a new face in the LAGQ lineup, as Matthew Greif replaces longtime member Andrew York and joins fellow axemen Bill Kanengiser (co-producer of the album and arranger of several tracks, including the classic "Mas Que Nada"), John Dearman and Scott Tennant.

Apart from his classical training, Greif also brings some Latin and jazz chops that make him the ideal addition to an album focusing on Brazilian music. With Sao Paulo-born jazz vocalist Luciana Souza on hand for two tracks -- Sergio Assad's medley of Jobim tunes and a quartet version of Pereira's "Sambadalu" -- the album straddles the space between classical and jazz, and discovers those places where the divide between the two isn't always as wide as it may seem. LAGQ Brazil is an album that is easily accessible to audiences positioned north of the border and outside the strict confines of classical music.