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Infinita

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Album Review

In this site's review of Mosaic, the 2006 release by famed flamenco duo Young & Rollins, mention was made of the magic that happens when "two brilliant players mix attitudes, melodies, rhythms and sensuality." Despite this obvious truth, guitarist Lawson Rollins makes a bold step on his first solo disc to prove that, surrounded by enough world music masters, sometimes one can tango just as well. Interestingly enough, he worked on this masterful genre-busting collection of Latin, Indian, Persian, Arabic, South American. and European sounds with producer Shahin Shahida, half of the popular guitar duo Shahin & Sepehr — which was mentioned as an example of the dual magic in the other review. While fans will no doubt hope this is just a splendid one-off project and not an indication of a split with Dan Young, Rollins continues to keep amazing company. He starts with vocal great Flora Purim and trumpeter Jeff Elliot on the breezy Brazilian singalong "Café Jobim," sounds some dramatic classically influenced "Echoes of Madrid" with violinist Charlie Bisharat, and enters dreamy retro-soul territory with Purim and vocalist/percussionist Airto Moreira on the loping title track. Like all great recordings in the nouveau flamenco age, Infinita skillfully blends blazing, blistering, and busily percussive tracks like the heavily orchestrated "Through the Night" and the sexy, trippy Middle Eastern dance tune "New World Raga" with gentler, more sensual pieces like the chill-vibing "Southwind" and the floating, new agey "Ceremony." Beyond the names well known to the world music crowd, Rollins enhances his crisp, precise string tones and strumming with Afghan vocalist Humayun Khan, Azerbaijani kamanche master Imamyar Hassanov, and Pejman Hadadi on tombak. Though the famed new age/world music label Higher Octave had long since folded into Narada and Blue Note by the late 2000s, this is the kind of provocative and seductive project they were famous for — and would be releasing today if they were still around.

Customer Reviews

An album of great depth

As a fan of Rollins' work with Young & Rollins I was curious what he would produce as a solo artist. What he has done is taken his talents to an even higher level and created a monumental work full of rich instrumentation, virtuoso guitar playing, and expert songwriting that spans the globe in its references to different styles of music, from Brazilian samba to Indian raga. Rollins manages to weave this cornucopia of sound together with his signature guitar style and undeniable sense of melody. Infinita, as the title implies, is expansive in its reach and ambition, stretching way beyond the realm of a "guitar album" into a broader musical landscape where an all-star ensemble of musicians and vocalists work in concert to paint the canvas. This has to be one of the best world music albums of the year.

Amazing and Authentic

He really pulled together an impressive bunch of musicians on this one. Worth a listen.

A must buy

Simply extraordinary. Superb talent-wonderful sounds and rhythms. I wish there more recordings by this artist.

Biography

Born: North Carolina

Genre: World

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A virtuoso guitarist, Lawson Rollins plays with fast, classically proficient finger-style technique and a cross-genre aesthetic that brings together elements of Latin jazz, Brazilian music, Eastern music, flamenco, and some rock sounds. A native of North Carolina, Rollins studied at Duke University before earning his graduate degree from the London School of Economics. In 1998, Rollins relocated to Washington, D.C., where he formed the Latin fusion duo Young & Rollins with guitarist Dan Young....
Full Bio