AHH! THE FAMED LATIN TINGE! Where would Western music be if not for the
adventures of Christopher Columbus and Pedro Alvares Cabral, who
initiated the unification of Europe, Latin Culture and the New World?
The thought of jazz without the music of the Caribbean or Brazil makes
me shudder at times, and if there were no blues, what would be have?
ECM every day? AARRRRGGGGHHHH!
Here are three recent releases united in culture, but with a variety of
flavors on the plate.
Bassist Paul Beaudry leads a quartet with Tim Armacost/ts-ss, Bennett P
aster/p and Tony Jefferson/dr that take you on a sonic excursion
through the various countries of Central and South America. Lesser
known countries such as Suriname, Honduras, and Trinidad are
represented here, as well as more obvious choices like Cuba and
Argentina. A danceable “El Panuelo De Pepa” includes some lovely
soprano work by Armacost, while the busy “Every Time Ah Pass” has
Jefferson working in overtime. Old school romance is emphasized on the
luscious tango “Zamba Alegre” spotlighting some lovely piano work by
the leader. Lots of exciting music here for a hot and muggy night while
you sip your 92 octane coffee.
Drummer Dudka Da Fonseca holds the reins on a hot band that features
Anat Cohen/ts-cl, Helio Alves/p, Guilherme Monteiro/g and Leonardo
Cioglia/b. Just as the Crayola Crayons have a large difference between
“yellow-green” and “green-yellow,” so Da Fonseca and company show a
wide range between “samba jazz” and “jazz samba.” One is a style, one
is an attitude. Ornette Coleman’s “Blues Connotation” is treated like
an upbeat boogaloo, with some marvelous sounds emanating from Anat’s
tenor and Monteiro’s guitar. The original “Flying Over Rio” includes
some graceful moments provided by Alves, while Jimmy Rowles’ “The
Peacocks” floats with Cohen’s lithe clarinet. Latin wouldn’t be latin
without some melancholy, and Jobim’s “Ranco Das Nuvens” provides ample
agony with some conversant work between guitar and drums. Impressively
wide palate of feelings brought to the table.
Vocalist Anna Estrada brings a warm and earthy voice to this clever
collection of material. At first glance, with a backing team of piano,
Rhodes, bass and drums, you might think the music veers a bit on the
easy listening/pop side of latin sounds. But, she throws a few curves
by selecting some eyebrow raising tunes, such as “Happiness Is A Warm
Gun/I Want You” which Estrada turns into this sensuous serenade.
Likewise, the Brazilian lilt to “Begin The Beguine” produces a fresh
breeze of sound, and even the 60’s pop hit “Everybody’s Talkin” works
to satisfaction. Her voice gets delicate and vulnerable when she’s in
intimate company, just her and the piano on the opening to “Paciencia,”
making you wish for more. Smart and well balanced.
By George W. Harris