Homework is largely a family affair. Hugo’s wife Gabriela sings on several cuts, son Francisco plays bass, and Alex and Christian play guitar. Brother Jorge, a world-renown drummer with whom Hugo frequently records, isn’t on this CD; however, there’s an ensemble of twelve percussionists on hand to keep the Candombe rhythms firmly in place.
The music on this disc focuses on folk tunes, a few with the surging percussion (especially “El Gramillero,” on which the last three minutes is all percussion ensemble), but more often accompanied only by Hugo’s keyboards, accordion, or guitar. You’ll hear some pop, jazz, and other Latin styles embedded in the work. But you’ll hear more of these genres on the Trio Fattoruso and Ruben Rada CDs, which I will review in the near future. This CD is more home-grown. Hugo is primarily known as a keyboardist, but he sings extensively on this disc and turns in competent performances. Almost all of the vocals are in Spanish, with the exception of the tender lullaby “Can’t Reach,” sung in English to a child he must be away from too often.
Hats off to Neil Weiss for introducing us to this previously under-recorded musical culture! (Big World BW 2020)
Track Listing: Brisas; Milonga Blues; Conmigo; Melodia en Candombe; Atardecer; Agua y Aceite; Aero Rings; Todo Voce; Islands
Personnel: Hugo Fattoruso
Title: Homework | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Big World Music
Hugo Fattoruso CD/LP/Track Review Dave Hughes Big World Music United States Homework
Uruguayan multi-instrumentalist, composer, and singer Hugo Fattoruso is perhaps best known to North American audiences as a member of Brazilian singer Milton Nascimento's band. But Fattoruso has been working for decades on intriguing fusions of jazz, Anglo pop, and Uruguayan music styles such as candombe (a drum-heavy African-rooted style) and murga (carnival music). His records with the Uruguayan trio Opa, recorded and released in the United States in the '70s and reissued in the '90s, are still fascinating, rich with possibilities. Homework, recorded both at his home in Montevideo and a New York studio, is disappointingly uneven. Some of the material is not fully realized. Other songs come across as weak stabs at pop. Still, Fattoruso is capable of smart, neotraditional songwriting, as in the delightful "Conmigo" or "Agua y Aceite." Also, the simple "Melodia de Candombe" and, especially, "El Gramillero" hint at the power, joy, and artistic potential of candombe. More of this would have been welcome. --Fernando Gonzalez
[Fattoruso's] style reflects various influences: the music of Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay, rock, jazz, and a pronounced Brazilian trust, particularly bossa nova and tropicalismo. All of these are distilled into a highly original sound, airy yet rhythmic and dense, that makes for a strongly appealing release. -- Jazz Times