Mike Marshall & Caterina Lichtenberg

It is no longer the necessity to use the term Third Stream that Gunther Schuller “invented” to describe the music created by the Modern Jazz Quartet in the 50’s, which was a confluence of the European Classical tradition streaming with cadenzas, infused with swaggering swing and syncopations of jazz idioms to describe much contemporary 21st century music, which does the same. Labels of any sort would diminish the excellence of the music played by Mike [...]

Antonio Adolfo & Carol Saboya – Lá e Cá (Self Produced – 2010)

Although Antonio Adolfo makes a point to explain his singular style as an amalgam of a very personal style with a distinct infusion of Brazilian phrasing, this may not be necessary at all. Adolfo’s sweeping, symphonic pianistic style and the immaculate sense of swagger is highly recognizable. His virtuoso piano playing echoes with the offbeat of the samba, the irreverent rattle of maracatu and flights of fanciful capoeira. These he incorporates into his often [...]

Hamilton de Holanda Quintet: Brasilianos 2

The mandolin has barely evolved since its incarnation as a lute in Italy over three hundred years ago. A few more strings may have been added, so that there is now a ten-stringed version; tuning of these strings may have become more creative and different, but the instrument has remained essentially the same. Unlike the violin, its notes decay quicker after they are sounded and cannot usually be sustained after a point. But then you have musicians [...]

Ricardo Silveira – Até Amanhã (Adventure Music – 2010)

The music of guitarist Ricardo Silveira flows—especially on Até Amanhã/'Til Tomorrow--flows like an interminable river into the proverbial ocean of sound where a world of music mixes and mingles. Yet the idea that he is only marginally Brazilian is anathema. Silveira’s music ripples and gushes with a forceful swagger recalling, at times, the immensity force Rio Negro. That is when his phrases and lines bubble like with liquefying, steamy splendour [...]

Marcus Tardelli – Unha & Carne (Biscoito Fino – 2009)

Even if Guinga never pronounced that Marcus Tardelli is "the greatest acoustic guitar player that Brazil has produced in history," the musical evidence on this record, Unha e Carne (Fingernail and Flesh for those interested), would certainly put him on a pedestal right next to Egberto Gismonti and the Assad Brothers. In fact, based on technique, expression, intonation and [...]

Carlos Barbosa-Lima – Merengue (Zoho Music – 2009)

There is distinct nobility surrounding the virtuosity of the guitarist, Carlos Barbosa-Lima. His South American sojourn, Merengue presents sweeping vistas and myriad emotions described by such technical superiority as only a few musicians have achieved. Unfortunately Barbosa-Lima’s reputation has not kept pace with his magnificent musicianship [...]

André Mehmari & Gabriele Mirabassi – Miramari (Tratore – 2009)

Miramari is a musical whirlpool that bubbles with rhythmic ripples and swirls in a manner, at that describes some gentle disturbance that gathers in intensity at times. It is in this mysterious, liquified realm that pianist, André Mehmari and clarinetist, Gabriel Mirabassi concoct their sublime music mixing disparate metaphors, idiomatic phrases and images [...]

Mario Adnet & Phillippe Baden Powell – AfroSambaJazz

Truth is told: Had the great Billy Strayhorn been even mildly interested in courting recognition for his contribution to Duke Ellington's music, he would have occupied a much more rarified place in the pantheon of composers and arrangers - and even pianists - in the modern history of music. His reticence, even diffidence, was all encompasing. Mario Adnet could very possibly be [...]

Ithamara Koorax & Juarez Moreira – Bim Bom (Motema Music 2009)

João Gilberto did not just epitomize bossa nova, "The New Thing" that he virtually invented, but he also brought his new laconic vocalastic style to Brasilian music. So deeply passionate and idiosyncratic was his annunciation and intonation that he could wail and groan with equal lyricism. Pitch did not seem to matter as the mood and passion of the emotion often took [...]

Tom Lellis & the Metropole Orch. – Skylark (Adventure Music 2009)

On Skylark, Tom Lellis celebrates the grand age of singers and song. This was probably not his intention at all, but fortunately, it also turned out that way. Lellis is a fine singer, fashioned from quite the classic mould of singers – like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Barry Manilow. He is a narrative singer and as some of the best storytellers go, he has a wonderful intonation [...]

Daniel Santiago – Metropole (Adventure Music 2009)

Daniel Santiago comes from a long and continuing line of renowned Brasilian guitarists. He has a lively and probing mind and the language of his guitar resonates with sparkling phrases, unusual syntax and an almost full-formed musical ideology. On Metropole, a thoughtful, questioning record, Santiago employs the distinct nature of being “Brasileiro” to explore his environment [...]

Benjamim Taubkin – Trio + 1 (Adventure Music 2009)

In music – even in a zone of sublime comfort – a small, unexpected ripple can distrub the ebb and flow of the wave, or groove thereby upsetting the complete sense and flow of the ocean of sound. This happens all the time, and can even stop and start a song in the middle of the first bar. That magical pulse must be felt even before the song begins. If it does not snap in the air [...]

Antonio Valdetaro & Group – Letícia (Independent, Brasil 2009)

What stands out immediately about this record Letícia is the ebullient mood that is struck with the first few notes of “Segura e Sai.” From then on the music gets busier but retains its sense of “alegria.” A warning, however: it pays not to me misled by the nature of the tracks that flow one after the other. Valdetaro and his group do a fine job of masking the true complexity of the songs [...]

Claudio Roditi – Brazilliance x 4 (Resonance Records 2008)

Charles Mingus would have loved the way Claudio Roditi plays his horn. He is most like Clarence “Gene” Shaw. And like Shaw, Roditi knows the importance of the space between the notes; when to play a note; a quick flurry, or merely a short intricate phrase… and when not to play. His voice is unique; his sound is bright, delivered in short, round bursts of emotion and energy [...]

Grupo Falso Baiano – Viajando Choro e Jazz (Independent 2008)

Of the many non-Brasilian ensembles in the United States besotted with "choro," the music of Brasil and, not simply drawn to it, but actually performing it, Grupo Falso Baiano may very possibly be the finest. The quartet of Jesse Appelman (mandolin), Zack Pitt-Smith (woodwinds), Brian Moran (guitars and cavaquinho) and Ami Molinelli (pandeiro and percussion) [...]
Mario Adnet - Samba Meets Boogie Woogie

Mario Adnet: Samba Meets Boogie Woogie

This is a truly remarkable recording and features fifteen tracks that make for a stellar tribute bossa nova, before it became the Bossa Nova. These fifteen tracks were all written and most of them were performed during the 1940s and 1950s. There have been many recordings that purport to pay tribute to various historic periods in music, but none have been so exquisitely rendered [...]

Jovino Santos Neto & Weber Iago – Live (Adventure Music 2008)

The most striking aspect of this package is its utter perfection. Artists always strive for this no matter what, but as Eric Dolphy once suggested after a particularly wonderful recording a short time before he died in Sweden, the magic is so fleeting that if you miss the moment it is gone forever. Fortunately there was the recording that Dolphy had just completed [...]
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