Celso Salim Band – To The End Of Time | Album Review

celsosalimbandcdCelso Salim Band – To The End Of Time

GRV 2015


11 tracks; 51 minutes

This is the fifth release from Brazilian guitarist Celso Salim.  Celso plays acoustic and electric guitars, dobro and mandolin and is assisted by regular collaborator Rodrigo Mantovani on bass and Jason Sterling on drums.  The core trio is supplemented by Ari Borger on keys, Darryl Carriere on harp (one track), Denilson Martins on sax and Sidmar Vieira on trumpet (one track).  Vocals are by Celso except on two tracks where Bia Marchese and co-producer Rafael Cury step out from their backing vocal roles to take the lead.  Celso wrote all of the material with Douro Moura except for three covers of classic blues songs.

The album opens in relaxed late-night mode with the title track.  Celso handles the vocals well with plenty of backing from the other vocalists and there is some good rolling piano from Ari and dobro from Celso. Celso moves to electric guitar on the soul-blues of “Fool Of Me” which benefits from Denilson’s sax.  Celso’s vocals express his anguish and that is echoed in a strong solo, the whole having something of an Albert King feel to this reviewer’s ears.

“Red Light Blues” has more of a honky-tonk feel courtesy of the piano work and Darryl’s harp adds blues authenticity though Celso’s vocals seemed to be mixed a bit low on this one.  “Leave It To The Moon” presents a shift in style and pace as Bia sings the lead on a sultry, jazzy blues with sax and trumpet playing a major role in the production.  Celso returns to the mike for “Blind Man With A Gun” which, despite its title, is a gentle piece of dobro and piano-led Americana.

We then get two old-time blues tunes.  Barbecue Bob’s “It’s Just Too Bad” is another of those classic blues that asks why his woman is messing around with someone else and features some fine dobro, drummer Jason using brushes in a minimalist production.  Sleepy John Estes’ “Liquor Store Blues” adds Ari’s piano to Celso’s acoustic work on an upbeat tune, the shortest cut on the album.  In contrast the next cut “Devil In You” clocks in at over 7 minutes and it’s a full band production with Ari’s piano and Denilson’s sax there from the start of a slow blues which finds Celso playing some excellent electric guitar.

“Old Blues Goodbye” returns to a simpler trio style before the final cover, Elmore James’ “Talk To Me Baby”, hits us with raucous sax, slide and impassioned vocal.  The tune is so familiar one wonders whether the world needs another version but this is a really good cover and adds something different to most covers of the song – a definite highlight of the album. The CD closes with “Rest My Bones”, another strong song with the extended band and Celso putting plenty of ‘twang’ into his solo and Denilson getting a well-deserved solo opportunity.

This is an interesting album that clearly demonstrates Celso’s versatility as he covers a wide range of styles from acoustic country blues to big-band soul-blues.

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