Mark Weinstein: Jazz Brasil (2011)
Flautist Mark Weinstein has enjoyed impressive success with his almost yearly releases. Timbasa (Jazzhead Records, 2010), Tales from the Earth (With Omar Sosa) (Ota Records, 2009) and Straight No Chaser (Jazzhead Records, 2008) were all favorably reviewed within these sacred electrons. Weinstein belongs to an elite club of jazz flautists, a necessarily small one that includes Herbie Mann, James Moody, Frank Wess, and Eric Dolphy; the flute is a demanding mistress in jazz.
Over the course of his career, Weinstein has revealed himself, on flute, like the late Steve Lacy did, on soprano saxophone, as a superb interpreter of Thelonious Monk. Weinstein can scarcely keep himself from tackling at least one Monk composition on each recording, and Jazz Brasil sports two covers, "I Mean You" and "Ruby My Dear." The soft, approachable nature of Weinstein's flute, coupled with the precise and inspired playing of pianist Kenny Barron, transforms Monk's jagged edges into bright and refined diamond faces. The cranky "I Mean You" becomes a devilishly timed tome, propelled by its idiosyncrasies. The balladic "Ruby My Dear" is treated with great care, Weinstein caressing the melody softly.
The presence of bassist Nilson Matta increases the recording date's Brazilian density, his "Sambrusco" the most Latin-driven piece on the recording. Weinstein contributes "Dawn's Early Light," a lilting ballad, sweetly played. Weinstein tips his hat to Herbie Mann by covering the late flautist's "Memphis Underground" on bass flute, which Weinstein wields with the same dexterity as baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan did with his big horn. There is much to like here, and like often.
Track Listing: I Mean You; Triste; Nefertiti; Brasil; Ruby My Dear; Sambrusco; Dawn's Early Light; Memphis Underground; If You Never Come to Me; Isotope.
Personnel: Mark Weinstein: concert, alto and bass flutes; Kenny Barron: piano; Nilson Matta: bass; Marcello Pellitteri: drums.