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Scott Feiner & Pandeiro Jazz: A View From Below

Glenn Astarita By

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New York City-based jazz musician Scott Feiner's fourth recording as a leader draws attention to his unique artistry as a pandeiro player, which is a hand drum he discovered during his first trip to Brazil in 1999. As an educator, he's spread the good word with presentations and workshops across the globe. Interestingly enough, Feiner's percussive aplomb is almost beyond belief, especially when considering what he accomplishes on one relatively small drum. You can almost hear the fusion of a bass drum and snare underscoring his sweeping and undulating pulses, amid a broad textural aura in support of this smooth sailing jazz fusion voyage.

The trio embodies the Brazilian component but it doesn't really sequester your train of thought—unlike comparable efforts by others. It's a heterogeneous mix where keyboardist Rafael Vernet and guitarist Guilherme Monteiro operate with a Brazilian flavor, largely rendered Feiner, but the soloists are seeded within an undulating stream of jazz-centric soloing and some tenacious sound-shaping activities.

The group's bracing attack is spawned by Feiner's prominent grooves, where a sprightly organic-electric temporal plane remains a constant. Vernet's crisp phrasings on electric piano and Monteiro's slightly distorted electric guitar lines present a simmering outlook as they cleverly counterbalance one another along the way. On "Mother Nature," the musicians exercise a medium-tempo, loping and rather forceful groove, honed down by Vernet's beefy chord clusters and fluid single-note runs. But they shift the tide on "Raro Momento," which is a probing ballad, embellished by the guitarist's soul-searching developments. Here, Feiner uncannily mimics a drum kit and also enacts a spacious rhythmic foundation for the soloists.

"Fonte" is a spiraling jazz samba via the front line's agile soloing jaunts. Yet each piece intimates discreet melodies, used as frameworks for the artists' peppery interactions. And the program is subtly different than what many of us would anticipate, when considering similar hybrid world-jazz offerings. Hence, Feiner and associates think outside the box with this nouveau, sultry and rather zinging excursion that generates staying power on all conceivable fronts.

Track Listing: A View From Below; Raizes; O Forno; Mother Nature; Sienna; Raro Momento; Fonte; Jasmine; The Visitor.

Personnel: Scott Feiner: pandeiro; Guilherme Monteiro: guitar; Rafael Vernet: Fender Rhodes & Wurlitzer.

Title: A View From Below | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Self Produced

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