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Scott Feiner: Accents

Dan Bilawsky By

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While drummer-leaders don't usually get enough credit, pandeiro-leaders usually don't exist. The pandeiro—a small, handheld instrument that marries that best traits of a deeper-sounding, jingle-less frame drum and a tambourine—is a staple of Brazilian percussion. When Scott Feiner first encountered the instrument, during his first trip to Brazil in 1999, he immediately took to it. In fact, his interest in the instrument was a factor in his decision to relocate to Rio.

Several years later, Feiner felt comfortable enough to record his first CD with the pandeiro as his prime instrument, and the same crew that appeared on Pandeiro Jazz (Delira Música, 2006) reconvened a few years later to record Accents. Feiner elicits a significant variety of sounds from the small instrument—from bass-y tones to startling snare drum-like slaps, and crisply articulated jingling—but he isn't the only rhythmic force here. Guitarist Freddie Bryant provides clean lines and boundless energy, while bassist Joe Martin is a bouncing bass force. Saxophonist Joel Frahm—the unofficial star soloist here—dances and dodges around and over these three musicians as he provides a tantalizing mixture of styles and sounds on his tenor and soprano saxophones. Frahm has a contemporary sheen to his sound as "Alone" gets underway, but he's no smooth sax crooner. He demonstrates a fiery spirit and everybody gets a little bit of the solo spotlight on this song.

Frahm's soprano lets loose with a peppy, joyous dance on the title track, while he shows some Wayne Shorter-like inclinations on "7 Na Ciranda." This particular piece opens up with a pandeiro solo that sets up a groove in seven and the song sounds like a cross between '90s era Joni Mitchell and modern Brazilian jazz.

While six of the songs on this album were written by members of this group, the four cover choices—three jazz standards and a Brazilian classic—each present a different picture. "Watermelon Man," a Herbie Hancock classic which famously received a Latin-treatment from percussionist Mongo Santamaria, is re-imagined once again. Bryant introduces the piece as a slow, moaning, blues-influenced piece, but Frahm's tenor takes it in a funkier, soulful direction. "Old Devil Moon" is delivered as a pandeiro-saxophone duet and Feiner manages to sound like two people—a djembe player and tambourine virtuoso—at once. Bryant brings the Mediterranean into "Soul Eyes," while Frahm's soprano is as romantic as can be. The album closer, "Chiclete Com Banana," famously recorded by Gilberto Gil, combines bebop with the music of Brazil. With Accents, Feiner pushes the pandeiro up a few notches in the eyes of the jazz listening public and presents ten songs brimming over with rhythmic vitality and creativity.

Track Listing: Alone; Accents; Watermelon Man; 7 Na Ciranda; Share & Share Alike; Soul Eyes; Before Your Eyes; Jobimiola; Old Devil Moon; Chiclete Com Banana.

Personnel: Scott Feiner: pandeiro; Joel Frahm: tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone; Freddie Bryant: nylon string guitar, 12 string guitar, electric guitar; Joe Martin: acoustic bass.

Title: Accents | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Zoho Music

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