Sunday, May 8, 2011

In review--the Brazilian Vibe

Andrè Vasconcellos
Adventure Music

Even though the press notes for Brazilian bassist-composer Andrè Vasconcellos’ US debut 2 mentions hip-hop and chill influences, the album sounds like lyrical American and Brazilian jazz to my ears.  I’m thankful that I didn’t hear hip-hop influences since that’s not my cup of tea.  I did hear strains of John Coltrane, especially the saxophonist’s Arab phase on the second track, Rome with its snaky chromatic piano. But then it’s not unusual to hear Coltrane influences on jazz albums, especially if saxophone takes the lead, which it does on this album.

I found Balance of Relations too noisy for my taste, but I enjoyed the romantic The Old City Ballad. Bullfight (odd title for this track) offers a respite from the world too with David Feldman’s piano and Joshua Lopez’s tenor sax passing a motif back and forth.  On Puerto Madero the musicians delve into a bossa nova that sounds warm and enjoyable with Renato Fonseca’s piano solo.  The Trip of the Elephant (I’m wondering what influenced the title of this song), also brings in that Brazilian warmth and sensuality, but this time with an Arabic touch. For some reason Charlie Parker comes to mind.

Vasconcello’s debut takes a few listens to sink in because the musicians cover a lot of ground.  They do bring in a lot of influences, but mostly from world music and international jazz.  I guess if anyone desires to chill from this music, they could.  Though I think it’s better to listen with both ears and pay attention to the complexity that reveals itself.

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