Baden Powell: Images On Guitar

A 1971 session in which the tracks where the guitar is prominent or solo are far more compelling than those where the small ensemble dominates

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Released in 1972, Images On Guitar sees legendary Brazilian guitarist Baden Powell joined by a small ensemble, performing a variety of tracks including several solo pieces.

The album opens with Ate-Eu, a slow and gentle piece with mostly lyricless vocals from Janine De Waleyne and a delicate solo from Powell. The track is pleasant but not especially captivating as Powell’s guitar takes a minor role in the structure.

The following piece, however, immediately begins with a rapid plucked pattern from Powell, until the halfway point at which the groove suddenly changes to a steady samba rhythm, retaining the cycling melody from the guitar. Titled Petit Waltz, it is much more gripping than the opener. In fact, throughout the album the tracks in which Powell takes the lead, such as the curiously dissonant E De Lei, are the strongest. Those in which the ensemble are more prominent are less captivating, like Blues A Volonte.

Another highlight is Sentimentos – Se Voce Pergunta Nunca Vai Saber, a solo, or at least mostly solo, piece from Powell, with the occasional cymbal rattle in the distance, in which Powell weaves together melodies to create a vast and expressive piece. The album closes with Canto, a brooding track replete with fast minor runs and dramatic chord stabs, before an almost call and response section with Waleyne.

Produced by Joachim Ernst Berendt, with whom Powell worked with on a number of recordings, Images On Guitar is a decent album, and worth listening to for Powell’s guitar playing alone. Originally released in 1972 on MPS Records, the rereleased album is now available online as a digital download.

Discography
Ate-Eu; Petit Waltz; Violao Vagabundo; Conversacao Comigo Mesmo; Blues A Volonta; Sentimentos – Se Voce Pergunta Nunca Vai Saber; E De Lei; Canto (41.33)
Powell (g); Janine De Waleyne (v); Ernesto Gonsalves (b); Joaquim Paes Henriques (d); Alfredo Bessa (pc). 25 and 26 October 1971, no location.
MPS Records