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POP & JAZZ REVIEWS : The Eclectic Musical World of Guilherme Vergueiro, Company

March 25, 1993|LEONARD FEATHER

Guilherme Vergueiro, whose 20-piece Brazilian Big Band played Tuesday in the band series at Moonlight Tango in Sherman Oaks, is a pianist who takes evident delight in bringing together the worlds of jazz and Latin music, infusing unusual spirit into his arrangements.

Along with the typical eight-piece rhythmic pulse, this orchestra offers a welcome element of harmonic sophistication. Though several pieces were played at the moderate pace typical of this idiom, there were surprises. One number, "Choro Bop," began with the five saxes playing a tricky be-bop line a la Supersax. On another tune, which had begun with Vergueiro battling the club's painful piano, the reedmen all doubled on flutes.

Soloists abounded too. A percussionist named Meia Noite had a startling workout on bongos. Ron King's trumpet was equally at home on ballads and high-note extravagances. Paco Cardoso's alto sax and Jack Nimitz's baritone also were ingeniously worked into the charts.

The set ended with three numbers of relatively traditional Brazilian origin, sung with pleasant confidence by the leader's wife, Ana Carolina. Though this is not an organized group and some of the musicians apparently found the music hard to interpret, the results maintained a level that clearly reflected the leader's eclectic talent.

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