"Brazilian guitarist Sandro Albert plays with a passion that can only be a reflection of one's soul and life experiences. While
listening to Sandro, I am reminded of the power of music and the beautiful experience it can be." -Fingerstyle Magazine
"Sandro Albert shows talent, versatility and great taste..." -Guitar Player Magazine
"...exceptional blend of excitement and beauty...extraordinary musical taste using dynamics and emotion...unique musical
experience blending jazz with exhilarating rhythms and tonal inventiveness." -L.A. Jazz Scene
"Sandro Albert is one of the best young contemporary guitarists. And as a composer, his music is exquisite." -Jimmy Haslip
"…a remarkable musician, elegantly bridges influences of multiple cultures….a style embracing the wide breadth of sonic
vistas…a stand-out composer, arranger and guitarist." -Dr. Herb Wong
According to most dictionaries, the definition of vertical goes something like this: at right angles to the plane of the horizon or a base line. Straight up and down, in other words. But to guitarist Sandro Albert, whose new album is titled Vertical
(Daywood Drive Records, Release Date: June 15, 2010), the word has a more musical meaning. "It's all about counterpoint,"
he says. "Counterpoint involves the lower voices as equally as the top voices. The way they play off each other and weave from top to bottom creates a unique line that feels very vertical in nature."
The 13 tracks on Vertical perfectly elucidate Albert's point. In collaboration with flutist Rodrigo Ursaia, bassist Michael
O'Brien and drummer Richie Barshay, Albert's rich, flawlessly structured melodies often take flight in multiple directions,
shooting up and down - vertically - to unexpected places, the notion of counterpoint paramount throughout. "When I wrote
Vertical," Albert says, "it was originally intended to be a solo guitar record. Then, as I listened, I heard that I could put a
different instrument on top, like flute, which we did end up doing. I was still reluctant to open it up for solos, though, until we
started experimenting with short improvisations that compliment the counterpoint style. We don’t get caught up in the blowing. It's more about the melody and counterpoint."
Albert's thoughts about counterpoint were largely inspired, he says, by Jimmy Wyble, a fellow virtuoso guitarist who passed
away early this year. Wyble, says Albert, "was a huge influence. I totally flipped out when I first saw him play, and then we
became very close. I feel very inspired by Jimmy's playing, and I take what I've learned from him to heart. I've been able to
write new music with him very much in mind, and I put my own spin on it. I dedicated the fifth track on the album, 'JW's
Baiao,' to him." Heitor Villa Lobos also had a big impact on Albert, and track 6, "Obrigado Villa," says it all, "Thank You
Villa." Albert comments, "My homage to Heitor gives thanks to one of my all-time heroes. The piece has three lines going
parallel, each has a separate voice throughout the song, and there is also a short solo section."
Albert notes that George Van Eps is also an influence. "Van Eps wrote three important books called Harmonic Mechanisms
for Guitar: Volume I, II and III. They are like bibles for harmony. I use these all the time in my daily practice, even though my
music is very different from his."
Each track on Vertical has special meaning to Albert, beginning with the opening number, "Some Days," which he describes as "a medium samba with a Latin attitude." Featuring counterpoint between guitar, bass and flute, "it's in a parallel motion all the time," he says, adding that the title "is a joke because some days we play this song better than others." The title track,
"Vertical," is "heavily influenced from vertical lines. There is a solo section in which I try to bring a harmonic release. There is a long melody between flute and guitar. It's a unique form compared to the other songs and defines the writing on the whole record."
A couple of tunes, "Waiting For Victoria" and "My Little Girl's Lullaby," were directly inspired by Albert's daughter. "I wrote
'Waiting For Victoria' while my wife was pregnant, and I composed the lullaby all in one sitting at 3:30 am at home," Albert
says. "My wife was feeding our three-month-old baby and I was practicing. I ran out of all the ballads I had written so I started
to improvise while looking at my baby. My wife went back to bed, but I recorded the song that night as a demo. The next day I
sent it to the producer." Another key track on the record, "Where I Belong," sums up Albert's love for his adopted home of
New York City, where he moved in 2007 after a decade in Los Angeles. After all, he points out, "New York, with all of its tall
buildings, is very vertical."
It all started for Albert, however, in a much less crowded environment: Porto Alegre, Brazil, where he first took to the guitar at the age of 14, purchasing his first instrument from an ice cream vendor. The sounds of Brazil - including the music of the
streets as well as the recordings of icons Milton Nascimento and Antonio Carlos Jobim - naturally influenced his playing
early on, and are still prominent in his musical style today. Classical music also made a deep impression on him and jazz had a momentous impact, as artists such as Miles Davis and guitar legend Wes Montgomery came into Albert's life.
Albert's move to L.A. at age 28 came after he'd already worked as a sideman to Nascimento (who guest appeared on Albert's debut album, Soulful People) and other major artists. A mere three months after his arrival in the States, Albert landed a gig with the popular soul-rock band War, which lasted a full year. He recorded his first album as a leader, Soulful People, while in California, and logged two others between that record and Vertical, namely A Beautiful Cloudy Day and The Color of Things.
During his L.A. years, Albert also played and/or recorded with dozens of top-name artists, a who's who running the gamut from Dionne Warwick to Herb Alpert, Rod Stewart, Alphonso Johnson, Dave Weckl, Kenny Garrett, Raphael Saadiq,
Robben Ford, and James Ingram, as well as Brazilian greats Milton Nascimento, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim and Claudio
Roditi. Albert's gigs in Los Angeles were always sold-out affairs with lines often snaking around the block. But he wanted
more for himself, and now, he says, he's begun to achieve it. Vertical, he says without hesitation, is his finest album to date,
and his personal favorite.
“Vertical is more raw than my older records. My other records had big productions but this time it's just a quartet. For this
album, there isn't a stitch of music written down; I'm writing and performing out of my head. Also, a lot of Vertical is thinking
of the guitar as an orchestra. I can envision a string quartet on my guitar. It's almost like a chamber ensemble. I had all 13 songs done before I worked with the band in the studio."
Once he did fuse his ideas with the other musicians, the concepts he'd formulated - counterpoint, the music's vertical motion - all came into focus more clearly. "Everything goes vertically," Albert says. "If you watch my fingers while I play, there are a
lot of jumps. Vertical means a musical interval where two notes sound simultaneously. Usually music moves vertically in my
mind. Besides," he adds, "now that I'm now a father, I always need to stand up straight."
For more information on Daywood Drive Records, please visit www.daywooddrive.com
Media Contact: Jesse P. Cutler, JP Cutler Media, 415.655.3431, firstname.lastname@example.org