Hermanos Gutierrez – El Bueno Y El Malo
A translation is in order – the band is The Gutierrez Brothers (Estevan & Alejandro) who are wonderfully adept guitar players who add all the color to this effort with their varied guitar interplay. Much the same as the excellent 1960s Brazilian brothers – the duo Los Indios Tabajaras that scored a marvelous hit with “Maria Elena” (1963 on RCA).
The album title is Spanish for “The Good and the Bad.” But I haven’t heard much bad about this recording. They’re a Zurich-based duo & Hermanos Gutierrez – El Bueno Y El Malo (Drops Oct 28– Easy Eye Sound/Concord) is their 10-cut, 34-minute CD at times ethereal, cerebral, calming & simply easy listening with a challenge with its bright guitar interplay produced by Dan Auerbach (electric guitar) & recorded in Nashville, TN. The music is primarily instrumental but don’t let that deter interest since music like this motivates one to “see” the stories being told by the compositions simply by listening.
While the guitars do their work on “Los Chicos Tristes,” there are beautifully laid out strings (Matt Combs) that elevate this simple melody to classically inspired. Sam Bacco adds shaker, triangle & conga to frame the finger-picking guitar work of Estevan (electric guitar on this song) & Alejandro (electric guitar & slide guitar). Beautifully rendered music – perfect for a motion picture.
The instrumental passages rely heavily on setting a mood & planting those seeds into a radiant atmosphere that creates melodic flourishes. At times it sounds almost as if the instruments are speaking to one another. The excitement comes with allowing the music to wash through your ears & create mental pictures. One would need a creative imagination to accomplish this but just close your eyes & watch your mind do what it does best when it hears music.
The early (1969) Fleetwood Mac with guitarist Peter Green had music similar to this effort when they released the classic hypnotic beautiful instrumental “Albatross.” It was a surprise hit for a band that at the time was basically a blues band. Probably an appropriate cover for Hermanos Gutierrez.
The music on this CD was all written by Stephan Ricardo Hotz & Daniel Alejandro Hotz. While the entire collection for some unknown reason doesn’t feature acoustic guitar interplay the gently controlled electric guitars layered with finesse at times sound like acoustic forays. Little dips in tone with bright passages & varied notes. It can be relaxing & soothing as exemplified in “Pueblo Man.”
Highlights – “El Bueno Y El Malo,” “Hermosa Drive,” “Los Chicos Tristes,” “Thunderbird,” “Tres Hermanos,” “Pueblo Man” & “La Verdad.”
Musicians – Estevan (electric guitar/bongo/cowbell/bass/clave), Alejandro (electric & slide guitar/gut-string guitar), Sam Bacco (conga/shaker/tambourine/clave/triangle/castanets/timbale), Jay Mumford (drums), Mike Rojas (Rhodes/Hammond B3/bass/Wurlitzer electric piano) & Matt Combs (strings).
B&W photo courtesy of Jim Herrington. CD @ https://hermanosgutierrez.bandcamp.com/album/el-bueno-y-el-malo & https://www.hermanosgutierrez.ch/