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Rodrigo Ferrari Nunes: The Bias Project (2006)

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Rodrigo Ferrari Nunes: The Bias Project How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Here's an unusual entry in the new releases department! For his debut recording, Rodrigo Ferrari-Nunes, a 29-year-old bassist/composer/producer and anthropologist, has come up with a bebop tribute from his Brazilian group—with a twist. The album is subtitled "A Tribute To the Music of Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Freddie Hubbard, Bill Evans & Hermeto Pascoal."

As an aspiring musician who was also studying for his degree in anthropology at University of British Columbia, Ferrari-Nunes was also working as a musician with the rock band Toyshop, only to find that his record company "stole" the copyrights to the group's compositions and sold them to the producers of a film. The title of this album, The Bias Project, reflects Ferrari-Nunes' view that the recording industry wants quantity, not quality, from aspiring musicians.

The musicians on this recording were personally chosen by Ferrari-Nunes from the Sao Paolo jazz scene—and with the exception of Cuban-born pianist and percussionist Pepe Rodriguez, are all Brazilian. The group includes Sandro Haick (guitar, drums, Rhodes, melodica and piano), Vinicius Dorin (soprano, alto and tenor saxophones), Pepe Rodrigues (piano and drum), Daniel D'Aleantara (trumpet and flugelhorn) and Cuca Teixeira (drums).

Ferrari-Nunes' selections for this project are jazz classics, plus two Brazilian compositions from Hermeto Pascoal and Sandro Haick. The album begins, rather in a rather prosaic way, with readings of "Fables of Faubus" and "Giant Steps" that present straightforward playing from the group. On "Mr. P.C.," Dorin's tenor sax is very much in a post-Coltrane mode (a la Michael Brecker), while "Donna Lee" shows off Ferrari-Nunes' bass work and then Haick's guitar style. Trumpeter D'Alcantara shines on "Up Jumped Spring" and fully emulates Freddy Hubbard's original version.

The only tunes that are at all distinctive on the album are the two Brazilian compositions. Haick plays melodica, which is not an unusual instrument for these artists, on his "Marmelada." Also, Pascoal's "Quatro De Setembro" is a good opportunity for Vinicius Doris' soprano sax. In sum, if you're thinking about this album as a source of Brazilian jazz, there is none (or very little) on hand. The two Brazilian pieces are the only ones that are that would fall within that category, and as non-bebop classics, they're also the only parts of this album that are refreshing. Also, the trumpet and flugelhorn playing of Daniel D'Alcantara deserves more exposure.


Track Listing: Fables Of Faubus; Giant Steps; Mr.P.C.; Peggy's Blue Skylight; Marmelada; Donna Lee; Up Jumped Spring; Quatro De Setembro; 26-2; Time Remembered; Giant Steps (Take 2).

Personnel: Rodrigo-Ferrari-Nunes: 6-string electric basses; Sandro Haick: guitar, drums, Rhodes, melodica, piano; Vinicius Dorin: soprano, alto and tenor sax; Pepe Rodriguez: piano, drums; Daniel D'Alcantara: trumpet, flugelhorn; Cuca Teixeira: drums.

Record Label: Elegiax

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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