Uruguayan pianist Nando Michelin with Esperanza Spalding on Blue Music Group
By DIETRICH MATTHÄUS
Pianist Nando Michelin, who has recorded for Double-Time Records among other labels, has found a new home for his new excellent recordings. Michelin is originally from Uruguay but has lived in Boston for many years. He is a pianist in the latin-jazz direction, and in addition to a nice forward-leaning rhythmic feel, he is able to lean back in sensitive ballads. These two albums are almost contrasting to each other.
Minas Gerais, with two saxophonists, Jerry Bergonzi and Andrew Rathbun, bassist Fernando Huergo, drummer Steve Langone and percussionist Sergio Faloútico, features Michelin's creative pen, well-subscribed to the improvisations by these very able gentlemen.
Reencontro features quite a different soundscape, with bassist/vocalist superstar Esperanza Spalding, trumpeter/vocalist Leala Cyr, drummer Richie Barshay and Tiago Michelin. Many tracks feature Spalding's vocals, to be continued by sparkling and fluid improvisations by Michelin. The compositions are here truly mature, suggesting a discovery of a personal style for Michelin.
Nando Michelin is not yet a household name among jazz fans, but with these excellent productions, he is bound to be just a little bit closer to what many consider a long overdue breakthrough in favor of a more regular performance and leader tour activity.