I don't know who is responsible picking covers on jazz albums, but some of them puzzle me, like the cover of Freddie Bryant's Boogaloo Brasileiro. It pictures him (or someone, since it's from the back) as a wild haired, guitar waving nut. When you discover who he is and listen to this album you quickly find out he is anything but that. First, Bryant has great musical genes. His mother was an opera singer and his father a pianist. He studied both classical and jazz composition and music and impressively graduated Summa Cum Laude from Amherst College. He also holds a Masters Degree from the Yale School of Music. Bryant studied with jazz guitarists Sal Salvador and Ted Dunbar. And he has played with a whole host of top jazz musicians like Wynton Marsalis and Max Roach. This is his third album as a leader.
Bryant is one of the few who manage to successfully combine the discipline of classical training with the free wheeling improvisation of jazz. On this album of Brazilian and new age rhythms, there is a sense that while Bryant is reaching more toward his jazz side, he is reluctant to (and probably shouldn't be) abandon his classical roots. On his own compositions, like "Eyes Across the Ocean" one hears the delicacy of Frederick Delius' "On Hearing the First Cuckoo in Spring". There's no indication whether that link is deliberate, but it's there regardless. You hear the classical background coming to the fore in the rendition of Horace Silver's "Peace" and on Jobim's "Por Toda Minha Vida". But this is not a classical album in a jazz wrapping. Listen to the group's performance of Miles Davis' "Solar", over eight minutes of a thorough exploration, with Brazilian beat, of this jazz standard, and its plaintive improvisation above the melody on "You Don't Know What Love Is". Both electric and acoustic guitar are represented, with emphasis on the latter. Bryant's technique speaks for itself as he manages to avoid those annoying pings that often clutter up acoustic guitar performances.
Bryant's cohorts in this recorded endeavor are fully supportive. Saxophonists Chris Cheek and Steve Wilson (who adds the flute to his sax) stay with the program staying with the aura of serenity created by Bryant's guitar. Edsel Gomez's piano is subtle and subdued. The rhythm section of Avishai Cohen, Jordi Rossy and Gilad make a major contribution to this album's success handling the sometimes tricky rhythmic patterns with ease. All in all, the music on this album is peaceful, introspective and fresh..and recommended. Visit Bryant at his web side at www.jazzcorner.com/bryant.
Track Listing: Por Toda Minha Vida, Boogaloo Brasileiro, Passages, You Don't Know What Love Is, Alone, Eyes Across the Ocean, Peace, Solar (54:55)