Just yesterday I discovered the amazing musician Naudo Rodrigues. Here is a short bio of his I found online:
He began to play guitar at age five. He belongs to a family of musicians, but never went to any school or music conservatory. He’s an autodidact. He learned to play guitar by jamming with other musicians, and he played all musical styles. He worked with various musician groups in Recife, Bahia and Rio de Janeiro (Brasil), recording the album “Vento Norte” with the group Karetas, which was No. 1 in sales in Brasil in 1982. In 1989 he decided to cross the Atlantic Ocean with his brother, who is also a musician. They worked in Lisbon for two years, dedicating themselves to Afro-Brazilian music. In 1992 he made a tour for Spain with the orchestra Linea Continua, participating in the “Autumn Jazz” of Zamora (Castilla) where he played with saxophonist Quique Macias. Since 1993 he has been living on Tenerife Island where he works playing jazz clubs, hotels and cultural centers and participating as a guitarist in recordings for several artists. In 2002 he recorded a CD entitled “Alone with my guitar”. He is also part of the band Madeira Choro with other Spanish musicians dedicated to Brazilian music. His guitar is a semi-acoustic electric Alhambra.
The fact that he is an autodidact probably explains his most original interpretation technique: he plays non-flamenco music in spite of using a flamenco-style technique. See for yourself how he interprets Gary Moore’s superb “Still Got The Blues” ( you can listen to the original here):
His harmonizations are also absolutely superb. See his version of the Bee Gees’ “How Deep is your love” (original here):
Finally, I want to share his interpretation of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” (original here):
To me, this is what guitar music should be: not “respectable” instrument for playing “proper” music for folks with suits in conservatories, but a popular instrument for improvisation and the re-interpretation of each melody or harmony. The guitar is about *freedom* in all its expressions, not “respectability”. Baroque, Jazz, Flamenco, Rock, Blues, Manouche/Gypsy, Celtic or Indian music – you name it – the guitar can do it all and better than any other instrument (in my highly biased opinion) because the guitar reinvents herself (yes, I think of a guitar as “she”) over and over again. I don’t particularly care for the Bee Gees or Michael Jackson, but when their music is re-invented by a talented guitarist, it becomes a small masterpiece.
If you are as impressed by Naudo Rodrigues as I am, you can download his album on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Naudo-Rodrigues/dp/B00FFRCIM6/
There are also a lot of his videos on YouTube – check them out.
PS: I just came across another amazing video of Naudo Rodrigues, this time playing the (rather ugly) Bee Gees’ composition “Stayin’ Alive” (original here):
Notice how he simultaneously combines rhythm, harmony and melody and turns a rather dull composition into a superb performance!
PPS: This evening I found a bossa version of Autumn Leaves where he also improvises while playing the backing chords :-)