Brazil is known for many things — its cosmopolitan ambiance, a wealth of spectacular beaches, the wildest Carnival celebration in the civilized world, and hordes of beautiful babes decked out in skimpy bikinis. Those assets aside (did we mention the babes in bikinis?), it's also worth noting the vibrant musical heritage, from birthing bossa nova to nurturing modern masters such as Paulinho Da Costa, Milton Nascimento, Sérgio Mendes, Naná Vasconcelos, Gilberto Gil, and Astrid Gilberto.
Guitarist Rick Udler can also lay claim to this rich musical mélange, and over the past 25 years, he has become an eager ambassador for Brazilian culture in all of its various incarnations. His 1996 CD, Rhythm and Romance, found him teaming with vocalist Maria Alvim, which spawned rave reviews from jazz journals worldwide. Three years later, Udler was tapped to produce legendary guitarist Paulinho Nogueira's first U.S. release, Reflections, prompting more kudos. His most recent disc, Papaya, is a sensual set of original instrumentals. It reflects Udler's international influences, transfusing his native rhythms into vibrant, engaging melodies and a supple finger style that's drawn comparison to renowned jazz guitar masters such as Baden Powell, Earl Klugh, and Nogueira himself. Udler comes by this synthesis naturally, having spent much of the Eighties living in New Orleans, Los Angeles, and, of special note, Miami. So allow yourself the pleasure of his cool groove and celebrate this accomplished musician's welcome return.
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