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Trumpeter/composer Matt Finley performed as a musician for several years before deciding on education over music as a career choice. Music however, was never far from his heart, and in 1988 he formed Rio JAZZ, a Brazilian concert band based in New York's Mid-Hudson Valley, allowing him the opportunity to express his love for music in general and the Brazilian genre in particular. With the release of Brazilian Wish, Finley has realized a lifelong dream of recording an album containing the best of his compositions. Brazilian Wish is a gentle album that taps into sambas and bossa nova rhythms in a highly pleasant package of soft Brazilian music with Latin jazz overtones.
Finley plays the flugelhorn and trumpet on nine delicious originals starting with the buoyant "Father's Day," with Jon Werking weaving his magic on keyboards, while guitarist Jeff Ciampa and soprano saxophonist David Mann weigh in with splendid solos of their own. The beautifully bossa-colored title tune features Finley's flugelhorn dishing out warm-toned lines on one of the disc's softer ballads. Drummer Joel Rosenblatt takes a well deserved bow on the percussive burner "There You Are," in support of Finley's steamy flugelhorn passages.
Providing a taste of the Latin jazz sound, "When She's Gone" becomes a showcase for both the leader and guitarist Ciampa. "So Close" sports a hard-driving samba beat, offering Rosenblatt and percussionist Tomas Martin Lopez the floor behind a whirlwind performance from Finley, this time on trumpet, aided by solo shots from guitarist Romero Lubambo on one of the liveliest charts here. In a departure from the album's theme, "Another Year" sounds almost smooth in texture, but is nevertheless quite appealing.
This gem of an album rounds out with the melodic "Calm Waters" and sprawling light jazz closer, "Softly Speaking," where Finley layers the music with breezy trumpet lines. This very special debut from Matt Finley is getting rave reviews from all corners, so hopefully his next project comes much sooner because, if Brazilian Wish is any indication, there's far more stylish Brazilian jazz to come from this master of the horn.
Track Listing: Father's Day; Brazilian Wish; There You Are; Childhood Home; When She's Gone; So Close; Another Year; Calm Waters; Softly Speaking.
Personnel: Matt Finley: flugelhorn, trumpet; Romero Lubambo: acoustic guitar; Warren Bernhardt: piano (2, 8, 9); Jon Werking: piano and keyboards (1, 3-7); Jeff Ciampa: electric guitar; Mark Egan: fretless bass (1, 3-7); Dave Finck: acoustic bass (2, 8, 9); Joel Rosenblatt: drums (1, 3-7); Jeff Siegel: drums (2, 8); Tomas Martin Lopez: Latin percussion; Barry Danielian: trumpet (1, 3, 4, 6); Dan Levine: trombone (1, 3, 4, 6); David Mann: tenor saxophone and soprano saxophone(1, 3, 4, 6).