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If you're not a fan of Brazilian music, chances are you're not already familiar with the pandeiro, a small hand-held frame drum that's similar in appearance to the tamborine. This unpretentious percussion instrument lends a uniquely airy texture and soft-tufted pop to the small jazz ensemble mix on Scott Feiner's Pandeiro Jazz.
Feiner started out as a guitarist on the New York City jazz scene, but on a trip to Brazil he encounteredand was captivated bythe sound of the pandeiro when he heard a young boy playing the instrument on the street. Fast forward: Feiner was so entranced by the sound he moved to Rio de Janeiro to immerse himself in learning of the intricacies of the instrument. Fast forward once more: he returned to the Big Apple to record Pandeiro Jazz, an appealing hybrid of Brazilian music and American jazz.
Feiner's main trio features (mostly nylon string) guitarist Freddie Bryant and saxophonist Joel Frahm, with guest slots by bassist Joe Martin, who is playing with Kurt Rosenwinkel these days, on three tracks, and percussionist Beto Cazes on one tune. They churn through tunes that range from Stevie Wonder's "Big Brother" and an oddly rivetingly and rhythically airy take on John Coltrane's "Giant Steps" to Horace Silver's "Peace" and "Song for My Father," Wayne Shorter's "United," and a couple of Feiner originals, plus Bryant's beautifully lilting "Denisio," a tune that walks a fine linelike the entire setbetween sharp-edged bop and lighter Brazilian grooves.
The mix of guitar, saxophone and pandeiro proves itelf a distinctive, new and unusually savory blend.
Track Listing: Big Brother; The Sheriff; Giant Steps; Estate; United; Botafogo Blues; Peace; Denisio; Song for
My Father; Speak Low.
Personnel: Scott Feiner: pandeiro; Freddie Bryant: guitars; Joel Frahm: tenor and soprano saxophone.
Special Guests: Joe Martin: bass (2,6,9); Beto Cazes: percussion (8).