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Review: Glasgow Jazz Festival

Hamilton de Holanda

Hamilton de Holanda

Old Fruitmarket

Rob Adams

If the BBC need a theme tune for their coverage of the Olympic Games in Brazil in two years' time, they might wish to consult Hamilton de Holanda. This sorcerer of the bandolim - a 10-string version of the mandolin - has at least one contender, a piece he composed last Friday, Escola da Bola, that sounded like a Brazilian classic that every band in the country has at its fingertips. Perhaps one day they will.

For now, though, it serves as one of a dozen or more exhibits presented here in the case for de Holanda's genius. His playing of this small instrument with the colossal range of expression teems with fluency, of course, but what makes the music that pours forth so special is the richness of tradition - the choro - that he brings to everything he plays.

This goes beyond mere notes, and there were many of these as he stated a familiar theme and flew off into a fantasia of melodic variations and chordal developments that piled depth upon depth. It was music that contained a wealth of poetry and presented itself as almost a visual and certainly a physical art form as the instrument became not only an extension of his being but also a percussive device of astonishing intricacy and intensity.

Every piece was a highlight but his conversion of I've Never Been in Love Before into an etude was a delicate delight, his development of O Que Sera (the love theme from Cinema Paradiso) into an Egberto Gismonti-esque strumdinger was a marvel and his whistled coda, with accompanying harmonic, to a rare vocal item was witty brilliance personified.

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