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Friday, June 5, 2009

Review: Russ Hewitt - Bajo El Sol

Russ Hewitt - Bajo El Sol
2008, Saulitomusic

Dallas, Texas "Nuevo Flamenco" guitarist Russ Hewitt's star is rising on the back of his debut album, Bajo El Sol. Blending Latin, Jazz, Native American and Middle Eastern elements into his songs, Hewitt has created an album that has already garnered chart success (the debut single, Bajo El Sol), and is receiving rave reviews from all across the musical spectrum. Hewitt has a prodigious band behind him, with Walfred Reyes, Jr. (Santana, Strunz and Farah, Ricky Martin) on drums; Rafael Padilla (Miami Sound Machine, Shakira) on percussion; Bob Parr (Cher, Brian Setzer Orchestra) on bass and the inimitable Alfredo Caceres on guitar, listeners will be blown away by the tapestry of sound Hewitt weaves.

Bajo El Sol opens with the title track, an energetic and lively Latin/Pop instrumental. Lydia is propelled by an insistent melody that will keep recurring wrapped in a Flamenco arrangement. Tranquillo is built around the sort of mildly infectious melody that will keep you coming back for more, although the arrangement does fall into the overly repetitive category. My favorite track was El Beso, with Ojos Bonitos a close second. Be sure also to check out Byzantine, Inger and Palma de Mallorca.

Russ Hewitt is talented, and Bajo El Sol is a good introduction. The arrangements here are light and poppy, perhaps too much so at times, but Hewitt's playing is technically superior and shows emotional investment. There is a definite elevator music quality here because of the ultra-smooth arrangements and production, but there's a little more to Bajo El Sol than just passing time.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Russ Hewitt at or You can purchase a copy of Bajo El Sol at

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