339

Cyro Baptista: Banquet of the Spirits

Sean Patrick Fitzell By
Published:
Views: 6,836
Cyro Baptista: Banquet of the Spirits
Exotic percussion, string and keyboard instruments were strewn across the stage of Joe's Pub in New York City on May 29th. Cyro Baptista rapped out a pattern and casually live-looped it to play against himself with handclaps, drums and birdcalls. His approach of maximizing each person's sound fuels his new group and CD Banquet of the Spirits. Drummer-percussionist Tim Keiper, bassist-oudist Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz and keyboardist-accordionist Brian Marsella added to the leader's sonic blend, slowly teasing the introduction and launching their rendition of the late trumpeter Don Cherry's "Bird Boy."

Opening with unhurried oud, vocals and percussion, the tune ignites for Marsella's organ run before becoming an amorphous sound exploration, spotlighting guest cellist Erik Friedlander on the CD, but handled live as a collective improvisation. Abrupt stylistic shifts are a hallmark for musical omnivore Baptista. His "Macunaima" boasts a rollicking Brazilian opening that dissolves into a fleet jazz run with cascading piano and a loping bass line, only to be rent by the alto sax shrieks of guest John Zorn. In concert, the leader manipulated bird calls for his best Zorn impersonation and Blumenkranz processed his bass to sound like a guitar for the raving surf interlude and later section of metal bombast, the broad genre hops flowing without irony.

Baptista's willful amalgamations respectfully borrow from their sources to pursue novelty. The influence of Cherry's early embrace of global sounds is acknowledged with covers of his "Malinye" and sitarist Collin Walcott's "Mumakata," recorded by their trio Codona. The percolating groove and lilting vocal melodies of the latter tune are irresistibly charming, the high harmony ably handled live by Keiper in the absence of the CD's backup vocalists. With vocals and tambourines, the drummer and Baptista matched wits introducing the hypnotic "Argan." Blumenkranz' oud was featured for its Middle Eastern tinge, minus vocalist Hassan Ben Jaffar from the recording.

Though lacking the costumes and overt theatrics of his Beat the Donkey ensemble, Baptista's streamlined quartet is no less engaging: constantly changing instruments and styles to crank out high-energy romps with contagious enthusiasm. "Anthropofagia," their original band name and dramatic mission-statement, explains it's a Brazilian thing to devour influences: "And we eat them all and again and again..."


Track Listing: Tutuboli; Bird Boy; Macunaima; Mumakata; Nana & Tom; Tupinambas; Argan; Typing with Oswald de Andrade; Lamento Maurisco; Malinye; Anthropofagia.

Personnel: Cyro Baptista: percussion, vocals; Brian Marsella: keyboards; Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz: oud, bass, gimbri; Tim Keiper: drum set, percussion. Special guests: Erik Friedlander: cello (1, 6); Cadu Costa: acoustic guitar (1), castanets (7), background vocals (2, 4, 5, 10, 11); Carolina Santos: background vocals (2, 4, 5, 10, 11); Gabriel Cordeiro: background vocals (2, 4, 5, 10, 11); John Zorn: alto saxophone (3); Tom-E-Tabla: tabla (4); Ze Mauricio: shakebalde (7); Hassan Ben Jaffar: vocals (7, 9), doumbek, qraqeb (7); Celio Balona: accordion (8, 10); Lisette Santiago: little bells (8).

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Tzadik | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop For Jazz

Extended Analysis
CD/LP/Track Review
Multiple Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Megaphone
Read more articles
Caym: The Book Of Angels Vol. 17
Caym: The Book Of...

2011
buy
[no cover]
Solos: The Jazz...
Tzadik
2010
buy
Infinito
Infinito
Tzadik
2009
buy
Banquet Of The Spirits
Banquet Of The Spirits
Tzadik
2008
buy
Love the Donkey
Love the Donkey
Tzadik
2006
buy
[no cover]
Love The Donkey
Tzadik
2005
buy
John Zorn John Zorn
sax, alto
Dave Douglas Dave Douglas
trumpet
Marc Ribot Marc Ribot
guitar
Airto Moreira Airto Moreira
percussion
Flora Purim Flora Purim
vocalist

More Articles

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google banner ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Fund All About Jazz's Future