Monday, October 4, 2010

In review--Gotta have Friends...

Jovino Santos Neto (and friends)
Veja O Som (See the Sound) 2 CDs
Adventure Music

The music that Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Jovino Santos Neto performs and composes possesses a sunny vibration. This warm vibration won’t toast you, but leave you feeling warm and slightly tingly when listening to his new recording, See the Sound. Certainly I find Jovino’s music falling on the healthier side of things as I find much of Brazilian jazz and traditional music. On See the Sound (title derived from a quote at a recording session), involves some world travel, 20 fabulous duets with North and South American musicians, and performances not soon to be forgotten any time soon.

Let’s start with the list of musical duo partners which includes: David Sanchez (tenor sax), Mike Marshall (mandocello and mandolin), Gretchen Parlato (voice), Paquito d’Rivera (C clarinet), Bill Frisell (electric guitar), Airto Moreira (voice, percussion), Tom Lellis (voice, shaker), Anat Cohen (soprano sax), Danilo Brito (mandolin), and Joe Locke (vibraphone). And on CD #2, the musicians that come on board include: João Donato (electric piano), Monica Salmaso (voice), Ricardo Silveira (acoustic guitar), Luiz Guello (pandeiro, effects, congas, djembe), Toninho Ferragutti (accordion), Joyce Moreno (voice), Vittor Santos (trombone), Paula Morelenbaum (voice), Gabriel Grossi (harmonica) and Teco Cardoso (flute).

I mentioned all the musicians that partner with Jovino on the tracks because each of them brings their own signature to the songs, not to mention their heartfelt joy. And for me that’s what stands out the most, not the virtuosic playing (which runs throughout), but a feeling of togetherness and a real joy for performing Brazilian music, Latin jazz, and standard American jazz. The musicians open their doors and hearts to each of us on this recording, and how can I possibly describe the feeling I garner from their openness, other than delightful?

The other dilemma I run into is choosing favorites among 20 sparkling tracks. The vocals whether sung by the women or men all present us with careful phrasing and jazz syncopation, not to mention a palette of emotions. Take a listen to Gretchen Parlato’s tear-drenched interpretation of Antonio Carlos Jobim/Vinìcius de Moraes’ How Insensitive. You might recall Astrud Gilberto singing the same song decades ago, but this new version will leave you holding your heart. On CD#2, Paula Morelenbaum delivers a vocal performance of a lifetime on the song Joana Francesa.

The instrumental performances also delight with Paquito d’Rivera, Bill Frisell, and Joe Locke leading the way. In fact, Locke/Santos Neto’s interpretation of Nature Boy (penned by Eden Ahbez) stands out here. To be honest, I could listen to these CDs all day long, and have pressed the replay button several times. I’m able to think clearly, stay focused, and enjoy this music while I catch up on my reviews, correspondence and other work. And on top of that, Jovino Santos Neto always leaves me in a good mood. That’s no small talent. Cloudy day, caught a cold, no problem. Just slip in these discs and it’s all good.

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