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There can be something magical about stripping music down to just an instrument and a voice, without the enhancement (distraction?) of a full-blown arrangement. Singer Song Yi Jeon and guitarist Vinicius Gomes explore that method on Home. The Korean-born/Switzerland-based vocalist met the Brazilian native/NYC resident when both chose Jimmy Rowles’ ballad “The Peacocks” to perform at the Basel Jazzcampus’ FOCUSYEAR program, discovering a common kinship in both Brazilian jazz and the way each musician approaches melody and improvisation. Playing mostly nylon-string guitar, Gomes displays a virtuosic approach to creating backdrops for Jeon, balancing serious chops with a penchant for playing the right note at the right time, and no more. Eschewing lyrics for the most part, Jeon simply soars over her partner’s backplates, alternating between counterpoint and call-and-response with the guitarist’s expert fingerpicking. Whether swooping like birds in flight in Jeon’s “Dancing Stars” and Gomes’ “Eleven Houses,” ambling gently like a river in Gomes’ “Flow” and Jeon’s “A Lonesome Place,” or adding electric guitar and lyrics by British jazz singer Norma Winstone to “The Peacocks” and turning it into the lush and appealing “A Timeless Place,” the pair focuses on the advantages of being a duo, as compelling as overhearing a conversation between two interesting people.
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