Passionate & Prodigious Guitarist Lawson Rollins Unveils the Multicultural "Espirito"
Moonlight Samba debuts as the #1 most added radio track
Passion, prodigious technique, art and elements of culture from around the world unite on Espirito, the second album from world music-jazz guitarist Lawson Rollins that was released yesterday (January 19) on Infinita Records, which is distributed by Baja/TSR Records. Moonlight Samba, a seductive Latin groove with a breezy melody, muted trumpet accents, and celestial vocals from Brazilian icon Flora Purim and percussion master Airto Moreira, debuted at radio last week as the #1 most added track.
Espirito, the Portuguese word for spirit, picks up where Rollins debut CD, Infinita (2008), left off. Once again, Rollins composed all the music for the collection. He produced the record with the same co-producers - Shahin Shahida (of the Persian-American World Music group Shahin & Sepehr) and Dominic Camardella (3rd Force, Ottmar Liebert) and many of the same musicians who performed on the first album appear on Espirito, including Purim, Moreira, Grammy-winning violinist Charlie Bisharat (Shadowfax), Afghan vocalist Humayun Khan (harmonium), Jeff Elliot (trumpet), Randy Tico (bass), and Dave Bryant (drums, percussion). Rollins & Company freely mined culturally vibrant locales such as Spain, Brazil, Cuba, Persia, Afghanistan, and India, and doused with splashes of American pop.
Rollins set the bar high on Infinita, but his lofty goal with Espirito was to surpass the first disc by stretching further beyond his comfort zone while elevating the performances, songwriting, cultural exchanges, production and fidelity on the record. While the album showcases extraordinary musicianship, scholarly composition, and an around-the-world alchemy of culture, Rollins has a humble way of never overwhelming the music. By setting a variety of accessible moods, such as infectious dance rhythms bursting with joy, somber ballads that stir emotion and provoke thought, love songs that embrace and ignite imagination, and intricate pieces that stimulate adventure, intrigue and mystery, the guitarist provides an inviting passport to a musical journey that promises to captivate, romance and entertain.
About Rollins guitar work, Guitar Player magazine wrote, Rollins seduces in so many ways that its almost unfair. His classical tone is gorgeous, his technique is impeccable, his subtle genre blending is compelling, and the cat can play melodies with jaw-dropping, near-demonic speed.
Espirito has been well-received in its early days. Guitarist Rollins first appeared on my radar through his 2008 release Infinita, an appealing amalgam of flamenco, samba, jazz, world beat, you name it. Born in North Carolina and now based in the Bay Area, Rollins repeats that winning formula on Espirito(Examiner). His follow up Espirito is even better, as his guitar work is even more dynamic and dramatic than the predecessorExcellent stuff here from Rollins, once again (All About Jazz). Jazz guitarist Lawson Rollins meticulously chisels his skill, culture and passion into his most ambitious album, Espirito (Hill Rag). This album not only offers musical artistry but also beautiful melodiesLawson Rollins' sophomore album Espirito is a special treat of his major art of love. A feast of classical acoustic guitar and world music full of picturesque facets (Smooth Jazz Daily).