and numerous other NOLA heavies, uses a rotating cast of twenty musicians to put life into this line of thinking. While the aim of this project may have been to highlight the parallels between these places and merge the musical language(s) connected to each, the end result isn't so simple and tidy. Dennard doesn't just stick with Brazil and New Orleans; his music goes all over the map.
"Itape," the album's opening track, is a Brazilian- flavored fusion number. The follow-up"Capoeira Mata Um"is both swaggering and swampy. Dennard writes for an expanded instrumental line-up here, as everything from bass clarinet to guitar to flute to melodica makes an appearance, and all of it fits together perfectly. This song speaks to both of the titular cultures, proving to be the truest musical manifestation of the Brazil-meets-New Orleans ideal that the album has to offer. "Abrindo A Porta" is a refined offering that shines a spotlight on Steve Masakowski
's guitar work; "Asa Branca" exists in the space where New Age music meets the southern breeze; and "Quando O Galo Cantar" speaks to New Orleans' love affair with brass bands and party atmospheres.
As the second half of the album unfolds, Dennard strips everything away. "Senhorinha" finds him behind a piano, working the simple-and-pretty angle with cellist Jack Craft. The soulful "Valsa Luisiana" and hard-grooving "Africa Mae" follow, but Dennard takes a turn in a vastly different direction on the album-ending "Ganga Zumbi." His Cirque du Soleil experiences inform this Afro-Brazilian dream. Synthesizers, programmed sounds, piano, guitar, and various other instruments move beneath Tatiana Parra