Pianist Glauco Sagebin set out long ago to defy stereotypes—specifically, that Brazilian musicians can only hail from Rio and that they must confine themselves to samba or bossa nova. He cites Mahler and Coltrane as influences, in addition to the music of his native Brazil. Unsurprisingly, at least one of them is evident on the title track of When Baden Meets Trane
, a superb hybrid that in Sagebin’s own words employs “the harmonic style of Baden Powell’s Afro sambas full of diminished seventh chords, and on top of that... the cycle of descending major thirds” used by Coltrane. Drummer Paulo Braga kicks it off, then he and Sagebin circle around, eyeing one another suspiciously before bassist Santi Debriano assures them everything’s okay. They settle into a spicy, swinging stride, though the dramatic wariness between Sagebin and Braga will crop up again and again. The solos are more like a tangle of improv trios, all taking place at the same time with a few intermittent breaks for the individual players to shine.
Two Jobim charts (“Olha Maria” and “Luiza”) bookend three originals, as well as “Nada Como ter Amor” by Carlos Lyra. There is also a frenetic rendition of the Gershwins’ “Fascinating Rhythm” and a moody, languid take on Johnny Mercer’s “Laura.” Among these Sagebin’s bilingualism is always manifest. Whether reviving the music of his compatriots or the American standards of his current home, the pianist and bandleader is nothing short of expert. He comes to each one with a thoughtful, technically bold interpretation, though this sacrifices none of the requisite emotion, and in the case of bossa nova, the brooding, humble philosophising that gives much of the music its impetus and appeal. When Baden Meets Trane
is an excellent disc: intelligent, engaging and full of nuance and flair. It should take pride of place when the Blue Toucan label is showing off its emerging lineup.
For more Blue Toucan reviews, please see Toucan Play That Jazz Game
Personnel: Glauco Sagebin: piano; Santi Debriano: acoustic bass; Paulo Braga: drums