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Fabiano de Castro: Espa

Matt Cibula By

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The word that comes to mind listening to this album is "adorable." I'm not sure that that sounds very good, so I'll add "adventurous" and "innovative," and throw in "funky" for good measure. But the interplay and spunk of this quartet is infectious and admirable without being overly precious — ultimately, it's all kind of adorable.

Pianist/composer Fabiano de Castro has assembled a wonderful band here. As a soloist, de Castro is nimble and exploratory without making it into a big deal. Bassist Itamar Pereira works in an extremely high register, holding it down but also making with the Jaco-isms when he can get away with it, leaving the bulk of the rhythm to Liz Hanson and Priscila Brigante, who form an excellent duo. And Sintia Piccin always plays the sax and the flute like she's smiling.

De Castro (and occasionally Pereira) have given this band some wonderful pieces to play. The songs range from moody ensemble workouts ("Sagrado Sois") to peppy latin burners in weird time signatures ("Inquieto") to sweet ballads ("Melhor Nao Ter Dúvida"). The title track could be the opening number to any number of French movies from the 1960s; "Algum Tempo Depois" is some kind of mashup of Steve Reich and the Yellowjackets.

So, yeah, a bit all over the place, but it all sounds like the same band. And, yeah, it's adorable to the core. And when things get a bit strange, like the serialism-with-random-shouts part of the otherwise straight-ahead "13º Andar" or the group vocals on "Fubá," it's just even more adorable.

So if your jazz music has to be dark and tortured and frustrated and ripped from the artist's very soul, you might want to give this one a pass. But if you like fun and well-executed jazz with a new sort of feel (and if you love bands where the lead can be passed around on a moment's notice to any member), then you might want to try this one.

Contact: Fabiano de Castro.


Track Listing: Espa

Personnel: Fabiano de Castro: piano, keyboards, vocals; Sinta Piccin: saxophones, flute, vocals; Liz Hanson: marimba, percussion, vocals; Itamar Pereira: bass, vocals; Priscila Brigante: drums, percussion, vocals.

Title: Espa | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Funalfa Ediçôes


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