Nilson Matta: Nilson Matta's Black Orpheus (2013)

By Published: | 3,924 views
How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Nilson Matta: Nilson Matta's Black Orpheus
The story of Orpheus and Eurydice has been told and retold in various mediums and manners throughout the ages. Claudio Monteverdi used opera as his means of transmitting the tale, alt-rocker Nick Cave tackled it head-on in song and author Neil Gaiman revisited the story in comic book format, but the list doesn't stop there; any decent rundown of Orpheus remakes has to include Brazil's two most famous contributions: the play Orfeu da Conceição and its subsequent film offspring, Black Orpheus (Dispat Films, 1959).

These works set the story during the time of Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro and feature some of the finest Brazilian compositions to come out of the mid-twentieth century. Antonio Carlos Jobim
Antonio Carlos Jobim
Antonio Carlos Jobim
1927 - 1994
piano
and Luiz Bonfa
Luiz Bonfa
Luiz Bonfa
1922 - 2001
guitar, acoustic
each wrote some timeless songs to fit the story and set things in motion for the Brazilian music boom that would sweep America in the early '60s.

Bassist Nilson Matta, like many a musician-to-be at the time, was completely taken with the music connected to these projects and he longed to record pieces from both the play and the movie; he's now accomplished his mission. Matta assembled a rotating to-die-for cast including pianist Kenny Barron
Kenny Barron
Kenny Barron
b.1943
piano
, clarinetist Anat Cohen
Anat Cohen
Anat Cohen

sax, tenor
, trumpeter Randy Brecker
Randy Brecker
Randy Brecker
b.1945
trumpet
, and vocalists Leny Andrade
Leny Andrade
b.1943
and Gretchen Parlato
Gretchen Parlato
Gretchen Parlato

vocalist
, to rework this music to his liking in various settings and manners.

Short interludes serve as palette cleansers and transitional devices to connect fully fleshed out works that really deserve a listener's undivided attention. Each of Matta's fully realized performances allow a different element of sophistication to come into focus. Jobim's "Overture," for example, mixes the prim-and-proper with the passionate-and-pure, thanks in part to Laura Metcalf's cello, while Bonfa's better-known "Samba De Orfeu" feeds off of the energy provided by clarinet queen Anat Cohen
Anat Cohen
Anat Cohen

sax, tenor
. Both of Parlato's appearances prove to be pure magic and other highlights include "O Nosso Amor," which features Brecker out front, and "Manhã Da Carnaval," which matches Barron up with Matta and drummer Alexander Kautz.

Honorable mentions go to flautist Anne Drummond, who rarely gets the attention she deserves in the jazz press, guitarist Guilherme Monteiro
Guilherme Monteiro
Guilherme Monteiro
b.1971
guitar
, who adds color and rhythmic zest to every setting he appears in, and pianist Klaus Mueller, who turns in some excellent performances and contributes a few notable arrangements. Matta's work simultaneously lives up to the spirit of the original interpretations of this music and the notion of artistic rebirth that has long surrounded this story; kudos to this bassist-cum-conceptualist.

Track Listing: Overture; Repinique Interlude; Samba De Orfeu; A Felicidade; Cuica Interlude; O Nosso Amor; Manha De Carnaval; Batacuda I; Eu E O Meu Amor/Lamento No Morro; Frevo De Orfeu; Valsa De Euridice; Ascend, My Love; Um Nome De Mulher; Batacuda II; Se Todos Fossem Iguais A Voce; Violao Interlude; Hugs And Kisses.

Personnel: Nilson Matta: bass; Randy Brecker: trumpet (1, 6, 17); Anne Drummond: flute (1, 9, 11, 17); Laura Metcalf: cello (1); Guilherme Monteiro: guitar (1, 3, 4, 6, 9-11, 13, 16, 17); Klaus Mueller: piano (1, 6, 9, 11-13); Alex Kautz: drums (1, 3, 6, 7, 9-11, 13, 17); Reinaldo Silva: percussion (2, 8, 14, 17); Anat Cohen: clarinet (3, 10, 13); Kenny Barron: piano (3, 7, 10); Fernando Saci: percussion (3,5, 8-10, 12-14, 17); Leny Andrade: vocals (4, 15); Alfredo Cardim: piano (4, 15); Erivelton Silva: drums (4, 15); Jorjao Silva: percussion (8, 14, 17).

Record Label: Motema Music


comments powered by Disqus
Sponsor: Summit Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

or search site with Google