DUETS WITH SPANISH GUITAR • Laurindo Almeida (gtr); Salli Terri (mez); Martin Ruderman (fl) • EMI ANGEL STUDIO CDM-7 63256 2, partly mono (55:41)
IBERT Entr’acte. VILLA-LOBOS Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5: Aria. DESPORTES Ronde. Pastorale Joyeuse. OVALLE Azulão. 3Read more Pontos de Santo. Modinha. CHOPIN Prelude in e. ALMEIDA O Caçador. GOSSEC Tambourin. HENRIQUE Boi-Bumbá. FAURÉ Sicilienne. BARBOSA Para niñar. RAVEL Pièce en forme de habanera. Pavane pour une Infante défunte. BRAGA Maracatú. MIGNONE Passarinho está cantando. TCHAIKOVSKY Serenade for Strings: Waltz. FALLA 7 canciónes populares españolas: Canción. The Three-Cornered Hat: Farruca
I bought Duets with Spanish Guitar on cassette in the late 1970s, and even then it was almost two decades old. (This explains, at least in part, why it is not in stereo.) I think I loved it immediately, and I am pleased that it remains in EMI’s catalog late (or so we are led to believe) in the CD era.
I don’t know if flutist Martin Ruderman is still alive, but Laurindo Almeida died in 1995 and Salli Terri died a year later. Almeida was a highly versatile Brazilian guitarist who was born in 1917. He played with Stan Kenton, became associated with the bossa nova, recorded fine albums with the Modern Jazz Quartet and Sammy Davis Jr. (to name just two), and also recorded classical and semi-classical music, which is the category into which the present CD falls. Salli Terri was born in Ontario in 1922, and her professional duties included work with the Roger Wagner Chorale. (The Wikipedia entry devoted to her indicates that she did the voice-over for the cow in Walt Disney’s film version of Mary Poppins, but I assure you that she was not at all bovine in appearance!)
The album’s concept is that Almeida plays on all tracks, and that Terri and Ruderman take turns accompanying him. It was released by Capitol and (at least in the U.S.) reissued on Angel. When it was reissued in 1990 as a CD, EMI added six duets from later albums including Reveries (a Capitol album on which Almeida plays duets with himself) and Duets with Spanish Guitar, Album 3. These follow a similar format. Passarinho está cantando and Modinha are the exceptions: They are trios for all three musicians.
Terri was nominated for a Grammy in 1958 for her singing on the original Duets with Spanish Guitar. (She lost to Leontyne Price, I believe.) The album did win a Grammy for engineering, which I don’t quite understand, but maybe I need to go back to the original Capitol pressing to appreciate it. Villa-Lobos supposedly thought Terri’s version of the Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 (Aria only, unfortunately) was the best. (Better than Bidú Sayão’s?) We don’t have to agree with him, but it’s hard not to fall under Terri’s spell. In her duets with Almeida, she balances her classical training with a pop or folk singer’s feel for intimacy and communication. If Joan Baez had studied at Juilliard, she might have sounded a lot like Terri. My only negative observation is that her Portuguese does not sound terribly idiomatic.
No matter what type of music he played, Almeida was a class act, with a sweet but never sticky sound. Even his arrangements of music by Chopin and Ravel are in the best of taste. One never feels that he was a jazz musician “crossing over.” Instead, he was a total musician, and he deserves the following that he retains today.
Ruderman’s name appears on many albums from this period, but I can’t find any biographical information about him. His dynamic style ensures that he doesn’t fade into the background in his duets with Almeida. Like Almeida, his musicianship is ingratiating but not prettified. Later, Almeida would rerecord some of these selections with flutist Bud Shank, yet it is Ruderman who shows the greater personality.
Duets with Spanish Guitar demonstrates that pretty need not mean dumb, and that relaxation does not depend on turning off one’s brain. This might be ear candy, but it is candy that appeals to adult palates. Imagine yourself sitting on a quiet pier in California as the sun is setting. Someone you love is by your side and you are filled with a sense of well-being and happiness. A little corny? Perhaps, but how satisfying it is! That is the essence of Duets with Spanish Guitar.
Sorry, 10 stars were not available -- so this getJuly 26, 2013By Robert B. (Victoria, BC)See All My Reviews"This is one of the best recordings ever made. Laurindo Almeida is tops as a classical guitarist, and Salli Terri provides a perfect vocal complement. Your most critical friends will thoroughly enjoy this CD. Please note that there are two more CDs in the series."Report Abuse
Clyde Gilmour fans will remember this oneMarch 7, 2013By R. Jackson (Ottawa, Ontario)See All My Reviews"A delightful collection that has stood the test of time. Salli Terri singing Azulao will forever be the definitive rendition of this lovely melody for us, although Canadian Isabel Bayrakdarian's version is also very beautiful."Report Abuse