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Harvey Wainapel: Amigos Brasileiros Vol 2

Chris M. Slawecki By

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The beautiful, gentle musical spirit of the late Thiago de Mello—a most influential composer, instrumentalist, arranger and producer from the Amazon (and leader of the Brazilian large ensemble Amazon)—floats like a friendly ghost throughout Amigos Brasileiros Vol. 2.

Harvey Wainapel boasts serious jazz chops, on clarinet and saxophone; and serious jazz credentials, including work with saxophonists Joe Henderson and Joe Lovano, vibes master Gary Burton and pianists McCoy Tyner, Ray Charles and Kenny Barron (whom Wainapel honored with Ambrosia: The Music of Kenny Barron [1996, A Records/Challenge Records]). But a different musical flame sparked inside Wainapel the first time he played in a Brazilian ensemble, which was led by de Mello; the reed player subsequently toured internationally with Flora Purim and Airto Moreira, and in 2007 released Amigos Brasileiros (JazzMission), a travelogue of far-ranging work with Brazilian composers and musicians recorded in their homeland.

Presenting nine tracks recorded with nine different ensembles throughout Belo Horizonte, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Amigos Brasileiros Vol. 2 extends Wainapel's journey. "I wanted to reflect what's happening now with the people I meet," he explains. "And they were kind enough to include me on their scene. There's so much creative energy down there. You never get to the end of it."

Vol. 2 winds like a long river journey, quiet yet powerful, through Brazil's subtle, sometimes complex rhythms, and its nine tracks combine to sound like one beautifully flowing piece. "Manulengo" features composer Lea Freire opening the tune and then accompanying Wainapel's light and breezy, dancing clarinet, with piano that sings so beautiful and simple. ("I met Léa the first day I ever set foot in Brazil," Wainapel recalls in his detailed notes.)

Vol. 2 pours out plenty of Wainapel: In "Nilinho na Aldeia," a caboclinho composed by Brazilian saxophonist Inaldo Cavalcante de Albuquerque—better known as Spok—specifically for Wainapel, the two play tag around a fiery pillar of percussion, each successive phrase seeming to sing higher and dance longer. Wainapel overdubs himself as a clarinet quartet (three clarinets plus bass clarinet) for "Palavras de Menina," a bright melody that really does sound like four clarinetists simultaneously playing rings 'round the piano.

It also highlights Wainapel's composition "Nas Ruas de Perdizes,"selected as semi-finalist for the 2010 Choro Festival of Curitiba (the festival's only non-Brazilian entry). Named for the neighborhood where Wainapel spent his very first month in Brazil, its cello/piano introduction sets a dramatic stage for Wainapel's clarinet to enter and dance through this elegant, classical-sounding melody—a truly beautiful composition, beautifully rendered.

"I've been pretty ambitious with both of these CDs but I'm still just scratching the surface," Wainapel explains. "There are so many traditions and styles that are very localized and not commercial, so you won't hear them on the radio."

Track Listing: Manulengo; Boneca de Pano; Nilinho na Aldeia; Palavras de Menina; Trunfando; Nas Ruas de Perdizes; Árvore; Procurando Encrenca; Velho Realejo.

Personnel: Harvey Wainapel: clarinet, bass clarinet, alto sax, soprano sax; Léa Freire: piano; Tibó Delor: acoustic bass; Guello: percussion; Zé Pitoco: percussion; Beto Lopes: acoustic guitar; Enéias Xavier: acoustic bass; André Queiroz: drums; Edson Querioz: violin; Vitor Dutra: violin; Carlos Aleixo: viola; Firminho Cavazza: cello; Lucas de Prazeres: percussion; Spok: soprano sax; Weber Iago: piano; Jeff Busch: percussion, pandeiro; Marco César: mandolin; Moema Macédo: mandolin; Maira Macédo: mandola; João Paulo Albertim: mandola; Leonilcio Deolindo: cavaquinho; Rubens Franca: seven-string guitar; Gilson Chacon: mando-cello; Adelmo Arcoverde: viola caipira; Eduardo Buarque: viola caipira; Paulo Arruda: acoustic bass; João Victor Gonçalves: percussion; Gilson Peranzzetta: piano; Marcus Ribeiro: cello; Wilson Lopes: acoustic guitar; Beta Lopes: electric bass; Sérgio Silva: percussion; Izaias Bueno de Almeida: mandolin; Israel Bueno de Almeida: seven-string guitar; Arnaldinho de Cavaco: cavaquinho; Silvia Góes: piano; Thiago de Espirito Santo: electric bass; Alex Buck: drums.

Title: Amigos Brasileiros vol 2 | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: Jazzmission Records

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