Trumpeter/composer Matt Finley performed as a musician for several years before deciding on education over music as a career choice. Music however, was never far from his heart, and in 1988 he formed Rio JAZZ, a Brazilian concert band based in New York's Mid-Hudson Valley, allowing him the opportunity to express his love for music in general and the Brazilian genre in particular. With the release of Brazilian Wish, Finley has realized a lifelong dream of recording an album containing the best of his compositions. Brazilian Wish is a gentle album that taps into sambas and bossa nova rhythms in a highly pleasant package of soft Brazilian music with Latin jazz overtones.
Finley plays the flugelhorn and trumpet on nine delicious originals starting with the buoyant "Father's Day," with Jon Werking weaving his magic on keyboards, while guitarist Jeff Ciampa and soprano saxophonist David Mann weigh in with splendid solos of their own. The beautifully bossa-colored title tune features Finley's flugelhorn dishing out warm-toned lines on one of the disc's softer ballads. Drummer Joel Rosenblatt takes a well deserved bow on the percussive burner "There You Are," in support of Finley's steamy flugelhorn passages.
Providing a taste of the Latin jazz sound, "When She's Gone" becomes a showcase for both the leader and guitarist Ciampa. "So Close" sports a hard-driving samba beat, offering Rosenblatt and percussionist Tomas Martin Lopez the floor behind a whirlwind performance from Finley, this time on trumpet, aided by solo shots from guitarist Romero Lubambo on one of the liveliest charts here. In a departure from the album's theme, "Another Year" sounds almost smooth in texture, but is nevertheless quite appealing.
This gem of an album rounds out with the melodic "Calm Waters" and sprawling light jazz closer, "Softly Speaking," where Finley layers the music with breezy trumpet lines. This very special debut from Matt Finley is getting rave reviews from all corners, so hopefully his next project comes much sooner because, if Brazilian Wish is any indication, there's far more stylish Brazilian jazz to come from this master of the horn.
Track Listing: Father's Day; Brazilian Wish; There You Are; Childhood Home; When She's Gone; So Close; Another Year; Calm Waters; Softly Speaking.
Personnel: Matt Finley: flugelhorn, trumpet; Romero Lubambo: acoustic guitar; Warren Bernhardt: piano (2, 8, 9); Jon Werking: piano and keyboards (1, 3-7); Jeff Ciampa: electric guitar; Mark Egan: fretless bass (1, 3-7); Dave Finck: acoustic bass (2, 8, 9); Joel Rosenblatt: drums (1, 3-7); Jeff Siegel: drums (2, 8); Tomas Martin Lopez: Latin percussion; Barry Danielian: trumpet (1, 3, 4, 6); Dan Levine: trombone (1, 3, 4, 6); David Mann: tenor saxophone and soprano saxophone(1, 3, 4, 6).
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.