Natalie Cressman & Ian Faquini

Auburn Whisper

Trombonist Natalie Cressman and Brazilian-born guitarist Ian Faquini — who are also both vocalists — released their first album as partners in 2019. They planned a tour to promote their creation, but the pandemic forced them into a necessary retreat to California, where they began to spend quality time together at a studio owned by Cressman’s father, trombonist Jeff Cressman.

The songs they made there have become yet another reflection of their musical compatibility and personal affinity. Limited to their own musical gifts, they have made a collection of original musical stories with a truly unique presentation featuring Faquini’s nylon-string guitar, a trombone choir featuring Cressman’s arrangements and overdubs, with either or both singing in Portuguese and sometimes English.

On “Canaa,” Cressman’s airy vocals provide stark contrast to the low brass quartet, which introduces the tune, blending with Faquini’s eloquent guitar and voice as he enters. “Curandeiro” is an especially lovely, loping folk melody that manages to be smooth and punchy all at once. “Already There” is a tuneful jazz waltz that would be a welcome addition to an updated Great American Songbook, allowing Cressman to show how her lyricism transfers effortlessly from her voice to her trombone soloing. But their love of Brazilian music is evident throughout; and that music, which originally brought these two together, continues to draw them deeper into musical understanding, and deeper into each other.