This is not your typical guitar meets sax duo album. Both artists are hard to categorize. Both have released astoundingly rich and versatile albums in the past. Sam Gendel received five paws from Gina for his “DRM” album in 2020 and was praised again for “Cookup” in 2023. Fabiano do Nascimento had us raving with his “Ykytu” album in 2021. Last year, he released two very different soundscapes with “Das Nuvens” and the acoustic-electric ambient wonder of “Mundo Solo”. They have now teamed up for “The Room”, a 35-minute tour through the South American landscape with Fabiano playing a 7-string guitar exclusively and Sam on soprano sax. It is indeed fascinating witnessing them both in purely acoustic settings, admiring their relentless creativity.
You can’t get away with the hypnotic melody of the album’s opening track “Foi Boto”. Sam is flying high on “Capricho” with Fabiano building up a wonderful counterpoint by somehow trying to bring the sax down again to tranquility. They both draw beautiful, minimalist pictures on “Astral Flowers” which features striking finger work by Fabiano creating a sphere of peacefulness which has this intimate, healing force. And there is a certain melancholy, maybe something like a saudade, on “Kewere”. Instead of revisiting the classic Brazilian/Latin repertoire, they come up with a totally unique sound interpreting traditional pieces from various South American backgrounds.
But not only traditional pieces. I really dig “Cores”, a tune co-written by the Brazilian singer Liliana Chachian who is part of the group Da Lata. We also get more of this soothing quietude on “Até De Manhã” and one of the album’s highlights (they seem to change with every listen though) is the warm and peaceful “Poeira”, a deeply infectious slice of elegancy. The two masters of their instruments end this wonderful trip on a joyous and positive note: on “Daiana”, Fabiano starts out introducing the piece with Sam chiming in after about two minutes and in the ensuing part of the song, it’s as if they dance together in total harmony and spiritual purity.