The cold weather seems to be finished for the year, and the days are warm and the sun is starting to shine a little more in the Pacific Northwest. Our patio is stocked with flowering plants and herbs and hummingbird feeders and the colors and the movement are far more entertaining than television. Mornings are filled with birdsong, so I open the windows and blinds and look for an ideal piece of music to accompany my second cup of coffee of the day. Since it’s still only eight in the morning, I choose something soft and introspective, Solo from Brazilian guitarist Ricardo Silveira, and I think that all things considered, this ain’t a bad way to live a life.
It’s with optimism that I talk about Ricardo Silveira’s new album, because the music itself is optimistic. Silveira has a sterling reputation in Rio de Janeiro as one of the premium jazz guitarists out there–he’s played with the likes of Milton Nascimento, Wayne Shorter and even Diana Ross. He’s been on the scene for decades–his recordings go back to the early ’80s. This is his first solo album, hence the title, but that lone word also signifies that it’s just his guitar here, nothing else.
Ricardo Silveira is no minimalist, so there’s a richness to his playing that fills the room. He can run a separate bass line with astonishing independence, and yet his melodies are so beautiful and straightforward that every single note is necessary to the whole. With this mix of original compositions and standards like Rodger & Hart’s “My Romance,” Silveira maintains a beautifully simple approach to the songs that creates textures without dampening the mood.
This relaxing tone might lead you to think about those old Windham Hill LPs in the ’80s, but looking back I’m becoming convinced that my time with them was more informative than I imagined. (Remember, both Mark Isham and Michael Hedges’ Aerial Boundaries were borne from that period.) Ricardo Silveira know that carefully setting up layers of context doesn’t need to detract from a beautiful melody or a pleasing idea. It’s a sunny morning kind of album, but it stays with you throughout the day.