Enrico Negro - Rosso Rubino
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Enrico Negro
Rosso Rubino|
FolkClub EthnoSuoni (www.folkclubethnosuoni.com)

cd cover Piedmontese guitarist Negro gives us a seamless blending of classical and folk musics in this lively release. His technique is flawless, with the busy, finger-y lilt of John Renbourn and Leo Kottke. He wears his influences on his sleeve, giving props to Renbourn, Pierre Bensusan, and Soig Siberil in the liner notes.

The CD is an amiable mix of traditional dances, ballads, and original compositions. Piedmontese allemandas from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries flow effortlessly into an original, improvisation-based tune. More than half the tracks feature Negro in solo, non-overdubbed performance. In others, he enlists the talents of guest vocalists and musicians, but the focus is always on the guitar. Usually this is a good thing, but in the case of the ballad "La fija d'ün paisan" his sparkling, tumbling accompaniment nearly overpowers Paola Lombardo's high, thin vocals. Either a stronger voice or a less active guitar is called for here. He nearly runs into the same problem accompanying himself on "A l'age de quatorz-an." His voice is pleasant, if a bit lightweight. He pours most of his energy into the intricate original compositions that he medleys with it, "Stella d'oriente" and "Piccoli passi."

High points on the release are two more experimental originals. The first, "Rat Müscia (Musk Rat)" is inspired by a Piedmontese dance called the monferrina. Though he keeps the rhythm dancy, he throws in some decidedly non-traditional harmonic progressions and scale patterns. The second, "Autunno Pedemontano" has lyrical, cascading phrases over a low ostinato and percussive effects.

Though a musician of virtuosic skill, Negro never overpowers the listener. Rosso Rubino is a sweet, accessible disc. - Peggy Latkovich

CD available from cdRoots

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