Thiago de Mello & Dexter Payne: Another Feeling (2006)
Have you ever walked alone through a quiet beautiful woodland and stepped into an open space full of nothing but warm and growing brightness, and felt like nature was a cathedral and you were seated in its front row? Another Feeling sounds just like that: completely, naturally, immaculate and beautiful.
Dexter Payne on clarinet and alto saxophone creates this Feeling with writer/ arranger Thiago de Mello on acoustic piano, guitar and "organic percussion, handmade instruments personally crafted from gourds, sticks, seeds, shells and other scraps from nature. No bassist, no drummer. The idea, says de Mello, was to avoid the traditional setup of piano, bass and drums combined with a horn.
The clarinet as lead instrument often lends a quaint air. "Tal Como O Vinho moves with elegant and relaxed grace into a three-way dance among acoustic percussion, clarinet and piano, a miniature melody small in scope but not stature. "Kimbolian Dawn, written to showcase pianist Richard Kimball, pounces with the sunny bounce of ragtime. (I smiled more than once at thinking, "Now we know the sound of Benny Goodman jamming after hours at a piano lounge in Rio... ) Yet when Payne switches to alto saxophone to lead "What About That, his crisp, articulate swing echoes the Paul Desmond classic "Take Five.
Composed by de Mello as "sort of an answer to Jobim's 'One Note Samba,' "Two Good Notes swings upon piano and guitar as delicate and bright as the promise of a new dawn. "A Hug For Gil Evans, in memory of de Mello's friendship with Evans, forged through their shared affection for Brazilian music, opens with a native vocal chant before twirling between percussion, clarinet and spellbinding piano by Haroldo Mauro, Jr.
Vocalist Ithamara Koorax also lends her angelic voice. In the title track, she rings in the dawn as supremely bright as a streaming ray of morning sunshine, and she transforms "An Evening Prayer into a reverent piece that seems precisely that. Her turns in "The Exile Song and "Urumutum/Swing Low Sweet Chariot are just as gorgeous.
Track Listing: Rede de Caboclo; A Hug fro Gil Evans; An Evening Prayer; Tal Como o Vinho; What About That?; Another Feeling; Too Good Notes; Kimbolian Dawn; The Exile Song; No Wolf at the Door; The Lonely Piano; Mar Aberto; Urumutum/Swing Low Sweet Chariot.
Personnel: Helio Alves: piano; Thiago de Mello: acoustic guitar, percussion, piano, vocals; Richard Kimball: piano; Ithamara Koorax: vocals; Clifford Korman: piano; Haroldo Mauro, Jr.: piano; Dexter Payne: clarinet, alto saxophone.