Amaro Freitas ‘Y’Y’ 

March 2024 | MUSIC, 24/03

The productions of Brazilian pianist Amaro Freitas have been quickly acclaimed by the critics. Like his country, built on the mixing and blending of people and cultures, his music is steeped in multiple influences and genres, taking on a flavour that’s both distinctive and, let’s face it, addictive. While he admits to admiring Art Tatum and Thelonious Monk, he goes far beyond the codes of these jazz icons, mixing in many styles of Brazilian and South American folklore. He even goes so far as to approach the contemporary music of John Cage, while retaining the warmth and feeling of Latin music – a tour de force. Marked by his stay in the Amazon basin, the sound on this album is luxuriant, moving like a river or dense like a storm, recalling the ambience of Gato Barbieri’s ‘Third World’. The rather unacademic piano, sometimes prepared, is played percussively, striking clusters of notes in the middle of an Afro-Latin-inspired rhythm section. 2024 has only just begun, but surrounded by musicians who transcend his compositions and his inspiration, the pianist delivers an album that can already be counted among the year’s great records.