Review: Ricardo Herz Trio at Pizza Express Dean Street

Left to right: Flavio de Abreu (manager), Michi Ruzitschka (gtr), Ricardo Herz (violin),
Pedro Ito (perc), Neal Richardson (Splash Point Music)
Photo credit: Simon Early ©Splash Point Musi

Ricardo Herz Trio
Pizza Express Dean Street Tuesday 20th May. Review by Alex Webb)

‘There are three countries that swing – Brazil, Cuba and the United States,’ said Tom Jobim.  The work of the São Paulo(1978)-born, Berklee-trained, Paris-based violinist Ricardo Herz is a joyous reminder of just how much swing Brazil still has in the cupboard.  Yes, his trio showed us how to play samba and bossa in their first UK outing at Soho’s Pizza Express, but there’s so much more to their music – forro, choro, waltzes, Argentinian chamame – and time signatures which I frankly couldn’t figure out. But everything swung.

Herz is a virtuoso whose violin tone can range from a Grapelli-like sweetness to a back-country rasp. His compositions are a reminder of how much melodic and harmonic sophistication there is in Brazil’s many folk forms.  With just fiddle, a seven-string classical guitar (Michi Ruzitschka) and percussion (Pedro Ito) the group created a friendly storm of sound that delighted the Pizza Express audience. Most of the songs were Herz’s own and his writing is uniformly engaging, though he did play one classic bossa, Canto De Ossanha (Baden Powell – Vinicius de Moraes).  Herz’s composing can be heard to good effect on his latest album Aqui E O Meu La (‘Here is my there’), now available in the UK and highly recommended too.

Herz’s ability to marry musical sophistication and sheer uplift is a rare thing – and deserves a wider audience. Definitely a name to watch out for. 

Categories: miscellaneous

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