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Album Review

Although he has been performing for over six decades, violinist Federico Britos, a native of Uruguay, is not as widely known as other jazz violinists, simply because he has recorded infrequently under his own name for the U.S. market, though he has played or recorded with a host of jazz greats, including Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, and Benny Goodman, among others. Britos plays in a variety of settings with different accompanists, contributing most of the arrangements as well. His style is comparable to that of Stéphane Grappelli, though without the uptempo high-register technique often favored by the late violinist. Britos makes a major impression in a pulsating take of the oldie "After You've Gone," where he is joined by pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Phil Flanigan, and drummer Francisco Mela. The violinist's subtle take of "Moonglow" and playful swinging setting of "Avalon" feature the distinctive (and immediately recognizable) seven-string guitar of Bucky Pizzarelli. Britos penned several strong originals, including "Tomatito & Federico," a tantalizing duet with flamenco guitarist Tomatito; the loping ballad "Vivian Flavia de las Mercedes" with pianist Michel Camilo; and the playful "Micro Suite Cubana," featuring Latin percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo. Britos has hardly been a musical hermit during his long career, but he merits greater exposure to the world of jazz. This rewarding CD is likely to provoke newcomers to his music to investigate his earlier recordings.

Voyage, Federico Britos
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