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Brasilian Report

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 […]

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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. Somehow, by supreme plan, unbeknownst to any but these two medieval apothecaries a magical moving sonic picture forms before eyes and ears. It beckons the listener to also watch as it evolves and becomes now, dancers and singers with the soul of the Northeast of Brazil, now the Cariocas and the Paulistas…suddenly a Villa-Lobos flight of fancy, and swoops over Europe’s musical stage, conjoring Gabriel Fauré and Erik Satie.

André Mehmari has long been casting a spell on audiences wherever he has played. His firm hands have been blessed by long sinewy fingers that are surprisingly gentle when they touch the piano keys. Despite his preoccupation with the long and celebrated line of pianists of Brazil, he comes flying out of the tunnel of tradition quite his own man. His solos leap and bound with spiritual fervour in a linear manner, as in “Um Anjo Nasce,” to start with, before turning tantalisingly circular. Brevity is his forte and he does not waste notes, preferring instead to contribute expression–in overtones and dynamics–to overall sound.

Gabriele Mirabassi is a master of the clarinet, that difficult woodwind instrument. He is expressive tremendously, making his licorice stick sing like an operatic aria. He is the equal of anyone on this instrument from Artie Shaw to Maurice André. He can play with deep intonation and classic phrasing so sweetly that he often makes magical choral voices emerge skyward out of his softly fibrilating reed.

On Miramari these two musicians have a whale of a time travesering landscapes awash with music, like rushing down a mountainside in Amazonian splendour. They thrive in the gamboling free, yet bow to the art of the rondo (“Rondoletto Per a Bambini”) and ponder in the somber beauty of the nocturne (“Perugia Notturna”). They dance around each other like petal-whorls in Valses (“Chove na Minha Valsa” and “Uma Vala em Forma de &#193vore”.) They weep, wide-eyed and ecstatic in the environs of “Choro da Continua Amizade” and dance interminably in the eternal spring of “Brilha o Carnaval”.

Most often than not, they meander in the invention of their own design, playing melodious and rhythmic tricks on pulse and time by darting in and out of subtly changing tonal colors and hues. The record is replete with several examples of this, but “Disarmati” and “Mirabilia Mirabassi” may be sufficient to drive the heart to vivid palpitations.

Here is a record of great accomplishment with stirring content performed by musicians of genius. This refers not only to Mehmari and Mirabassi, but also to a percussionist, Ricardo Mosca and bassist Z&#233 Alexandre Carvalho, who plays with stirring pizzicato and a certain gravitas in pedal point.

Tracks: 1. Um Dia Em Assis; 2. Brilha o Carnaval; 3. Que Falta faz tua Ternura; 4. Choro da Cont&#237nua Amizade; 5. Can&#231&#227o Desnecess&#225ria; 6. Chove na Minha Valsa; 7. N&#225!; 8. Perugia Notturna; 9. Disarmati; 10. Mirabilis Mirabassi; 11. Rasgando Seda; 12. Subindo a Cantareira; 13. Uma Valsa em Forma da &#193rvore; 14. Um Anjo Nasce; 15. O Espelho; 16. Quando em Gubbio; 17. Rondoletto Per I Bambini.

Personnel: André Mehmari: piano, accordion (16); Gabriele Mirabasi: clarinet; Ricardo Mosca: drums; Zé Alexandre Carvalho: double bass.

[audio:http://www.latinjazznet.com/audio/reviews/Mehmari-Mirabassi-Brilha-o-Carnaval.mp3|titles
=Track 2 – Brilha O Carnaval by André Mehmari & Gabriele Mirabassi – “Miramari”]

Andre Mehmari on the web: www.andremehmari.com.br

Review written by: Raul da Gama

Founder, Editor, Webmaster: Latin Jazz Network, World Music Report, That Canadian Magazine. A passionate and committed communicator with a sensibility for the arts based in Toronto, Canada.

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Brasilian Report

Rique Pantoja: Live in Los Angeles

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Rique Pantoja

The West Coast of the United States has had a rather long – and celebrated – association with the music of Brasil. Rique Pantoja is tapping into the Brasilliance on his Live in Los Angeles album. Moacir Santos created by far the greatest series music when he moved to Pasadena, California from Brasil in 1967. He quickly began turning heads with his spectacular take on the lineage of the [post bebop] cool, melding it with the music of his home-state, Pernambuco, in his very singular mix of other dance forms from Brasil. Other influential Brasilian musicians whose artistry collided with West Coast Cool were Cesar Camargo Mariano, Airto and Flora Purim [when she was there once upon a time] to name a few Brasilians who influenced the North American West Coast sound.

Rique Pantoja: Live in Los Angeles
Rique Pantoja: Live in Los Angeles

Rique Pantoja, by virtue of his extraordinary musicianship, his long-limbed compositions that seem to roll along with their exquisite, naturally danceable rhythms, can also lay claim to this august line of musicians. His music, captured on this beautifully-recorded album seems to express the sheer joy – the alegria – of being alive and in love. The composer [and pianist] seems to indulge fully his predisposition for dreamscapes as he is on stage, allowing the lyrical saxophonist [and flutist] Steve Tavaglione to stretch and take extraordinary melodic and harmonic excursions with winding, lyrical lines of his own seemingly intoxicated by the enraptured emotions ensconced in the music.

The pianist’s poetic fantasies – such as we listen to on “Da Baiana” – evoke images of voluptuous eloquence in the form of a sultry, baiana, rhythmically hip-swishing her way down along fine white sand of the Coconut Coast in Bahia. With rippling keyboard grooves, Mr Pantoja conjures vivid, lifelike imagery of surf beating around us, while Mr Tavaglione’s flute, with cascading lines from the guitar of Ricardo Silveira wail and moan and whistle melodically. Meanwhile the percussionist – Cassio Duarte – and drummer Joel Taylor – re-create the sizzle and steamy seduction of baiana’s rolling rhythm along with the deep rumble of the bass played with extraordinary facility by Jimmy Earl.

“Arpoador” is one of the finest songs on the album that had already mesmerised the audience with its tintinnabulation of the keyboards introducing the opening strains of Mr Pantoja’s magical and mystical song. Even under the Brasilliance of “1000 Watts” the audience seems to be under the hypnotic spell of the music from then on… a spell that is only broken when Rique Pantoja and this marvelous ensemble gently awaken them with the balladic – and balletic – aural dreamscape of “Pra Lili”, to close a beautiful set that offers an astonishing insight into Mr Pantoja’s artistic conception.

Tracks – 1: Arpoador; 2: Julinho; 3: 1000 Watts; 4: Da Baiana; 5: Bebop Kid; 6: Que Loucura; 7: Morena; 8: Pra Lili

Musicians – Ricardo Silveira: guitar; Steve Tavaglione: saxophones and flute; Rique Pantoja: keyboards and vocals; Jimmy Earl: bass; Joel Taylor: drums; Cassio Duarte: percussion

Released – 2022
Label – Moondo Music [MDO-2022
Runtime – 1:08:13

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