OK, let me admit it up front: I wouldn't know what good Brazilian Jazz was supposed to sound like if Pele snuck up behind me and hit me over the head with a timbale. My exposure to Latin music is pretty much limited to the "Ricky's" - Martin and Ricardo. So it is with much humility and trepidation that I present to you - the Brazilian Jazz buying public - with my honest opinion of jazz guitarist Freddie Bryant's latest release Boogaloo Brasileiro. After all, I may not know Brazilian Jazz, but I know what I like...
In short, the music contained on this CD transported my mind to three distinct places:
1. A corner table at a smoky bar
2. A Carnival Cruise ship embarked upon a Caribbean cruise
3. A corner table at a smoky bar on board of a Carnival Cruise ship embarked on a Caribbean cruise
But seriously, although I'm not terribly familiar with the musical genre Icantell a good musician from a bad one, and this CD is chock full of fellows that really know their way around their instruments. The CD kicks off with a very tasteful classical guitar led number titled "Por toda minha vida" (which I think translates into "The Crow Flies at Midnight") that clearly establishes the fact that this guy knows his way around a fretboard. The seven tracks that follow range from Latin-tinged rhythms over six minutes to Latin-tinged rhythms over six minutes with lots of saxophone noodling. Some, such as "Boogaloo Brasileiro" and "Passages" will definitely make your body wanna get up and move, while others such as "Peace" and "You Don't Know What Love Is" will make you want to spend some quality time curled up in front of a fireplace with a member of the opposite sex. The band even takes a Miles Davis number titled "Solar," and gives it the ol' Latin lift with a bunch of scrumptious guitar licks provided by Mr. Bryant.
Steve Wilson and Chris Cheek step up with some tasty sax (and flute) licks throughout the CD, and the woodwind duo is all too eager to fill in the space provided when the percussive duo of Jordi Rossy and Gilad lay out their classic Latin grooves. Of course, Bryant takes center stage on many an occasion - even breaking out a Gibson electric on the track "Boogaloo Brasileiro." But for my money, the stand out moments on the CD are when fire-fingered pianist Edsel Gomez is given free reign to solo over top of the smooth bass lines put out by Avishai Cohen. Gomez really lets his finger fly on the tracks "Passages" and "Solar," and the percussion section seem to get a little more spring in their step when Mr. Gomez is tickling the black and whites.
Boogaloo Brasileiro is certainly easy on the ears - you can either have it on as quiet background music (well, except for the Davis number "Solar"), or really pay close attention and admire the virtuosity of all the musicians involved. So Freddie and the boys haven't totally converted me to zoot suits and hand-rolled cigarettes, I do have a newer respect for Latin jazz and will keep an ear out for Bryant's future efforts. Well-composed music combined with top-notch musicians work no matter what type of music is involved, and Boogaloo Brasileiro definitely falls into this category.
Information on Freddie Bryant can be found at www.jazzcorner.com.