By Frank Alkyer | Published June 2022
Many listeners were introduced to guitarist Diego Figueiredo as the mop of hair and flying fingers beautifully accompanying vocalist Cyrille Aimee on their ongoing duets collaboration. And that’s a good starting point. But there’s much more to this 41-year-old with more than two dozen records under his belt, all demonstrating his ability to take the Brazilian sounds of his homeland into the here and now. His latest recording, Follow The Signs (his fourth recording on Arbors Records), serves as the most recent example of Figueiredo seamlessly fusing bossa, samba, jazz and classical overtones into his own breezy world. Here, Figueiredo arranges for guitar and a quintet of classical strings as well as his long-time cohorts Eduardo Machado on bass and Marcílio Garcetti on percussion. Everything flows so smoothly on this 11-track set; nothing is forced. The strings come in on clouds at just the right moments. Figueiredo has the touch and tone of a master guitarist hitting his prime, playing with exquisite style and facility, but always at the service of the music at hand. Take, for instance, “Delicate Samba,” where Machado plays the first solo on bass, carving an adventurous path for Figueiredo to follow, which he does with style and a few surprises. You can practically feel these artists smiling as they make this music. The set on Follow The Signs includes 10 originals that absolutely ooze the Brazilian tradition in a very modern way. Figueiredo pays homage to the masters with the lilting beauty of “Jobim Forever” and “Dear John,” a tribute to João Gilberto, one of the godfathers of bossa nova. He gives Errol Garner’s “Misty” a Brazilian makeover that’s sensational. For just a taste of crazy guitar chops, give the album’s title cut a spin, or the closer, “Imagination.” In both cases, he weaves some magic over the fretboard, demonstrating his command of the instrument and his art. The music of Diego Figueiredo has the ability to take your breath away in so many ways.