“In every sense Phillipe Baden Powell is one of those musicians who reminds the rest of the world that there is a new musical force emanating from Brasil that is powerful… a branch of the same root that produced the Bossa Nova…”
His father was a fine musician, who composed some of the most memorable music of Brasil and was one of the finest guitarists that country has ever produced, but now is the time for the son, Phillipe Baden Powell, a musician who brings great artistry to that other romantic instrument, the concert grand. How appropriate then, that Adventure Music should honor him with an album of practically all his own music in Adventure Music Piano Masters Series Vol 2. It is truly a thrill to discover the intricate musicality of the young Baden Powell’s pianism. Not only is he a virtuoso of the instrument, but he is a tremendous stylist. In this aspect of his musical character he resembles a powerful vortex through which hundreds of years of traditions of European music swirl powerfully with the traditions of Brasilian music of similar vintage and emerge in a manner that is bright, contemporary and sophisticated, spiraling with power and meaningful drama.
In every sense Phillipe Baden Powell is one of those musicians who reminds the rest of the world that there is a new musical force emanating from Brasil that is powerful, less insular than Musica Popular Brasileira (MPB); more worldly and infinitely more powerful; a branch of the same root that produced the Bossa Nova music that so seduced the world from the 50s unto this day: Musica Brasileira would be an appropriate term, but treated with the same respect as late classical style of musicians such as the Hungarian, Bela Bartok and the Armenian, Aram Khachaturian, both of whom melded folk and troubadour traditions of their respective countries with the more formal, broader European idioms. Phillipe Baden Powell shows that he is one of the more mature Brasilian musicians to emerge in this vein.
The poetics of his music is informed equally by Chôro and Frêvo as well as Maracatú, Samba and of course the intimations of a new Romantic style that has come to be the classical Brasilian music of today. Baden Powell’s ingenuity is formed out of an approach that is expansive, airy and one that is loaded with the dynamics of pianism that is so sophisticated that it seems he—that other piano genius, Andre Mehmari—is far ahead of his time. His compositions are beautifully architectured and combine the gracefulness of older edifices with modern material—an almost programmatic approach to melody, yet improvised with devastatingly exquisite harmonic invention. Technically brilliant Baden Powell plays these as if he were manipulating that invisible vortex at the center of which he resides in all his majesty. He is also one of the most astounding interpreters of classic standards and imbibes two great ones—“Round About Midnight” and “Giant Steps”—with remarkably integrated Brasilian rhythm and emotion; the former played with the aching balladry of a Chôro and the latter tinged with the kinetics and heat of a Frêvo.
Tracks: Prologue; Frêvo de Sorte; Consolação; Round About Midnight; Chôro Para Metronomo; Lôro; The Meantime; Canto Triste; Sou Você; Garfield; Giant Steps; Vista Chinesa; Ending.
Personnel: Phillipe Baden Powell.
Phillipe Baden Powell – Official website: www.philippebadenpowell.com
Label: Adventure Music
Release date: April 2012
Reviewed by: Raul da Gama