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Gil Spitzer: Falando Docemente

Dan McClenaghan By

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Bossa Nova music, from Brazil, became part of the America's DNA  in the early 1960s, with albums like Jazz Samba (Verve Records, 1962) and Getz/Gilberto (Verve Records, 1964). The key players: Saxophonist Stan Getz, guitarist Charlie Byrd, vocalist/guitarist Joao Gilberto; composer/pianist Antonio Carlos Jobim.

With Falando Docemente alto saxophonist Gil Spitzer—who cites Stan Getz as a major influence—offers up his debut with a Bossa Nova/Getz-ian mainstream jazz sound, with an exquisitely crafted, always enchanting set that also pays tribute to alto saxophonist Paul Desmond—of the Dave Brubeck Quartet fame—and the Great American Songbook.

The familiar "Angel Eyes" opens the set, in a bit of an up-tempo mode. Spitzer's tone is sweet and clean—a gorgeous and mellifluous flow, a classic jazz sound in front of crisp rhythm section, with Chico Pinheiro's acoustic guitar giving the sounds some snap. Gershwin's "Embraceable You" marinates in the Bossa Nova mood, sounding like an outtake from Getz/Gilberto. Then things gets bluesy on Spitzer's lone original composition on the disc, "Blues For Harry A." He is joined here by tenor saxophonist Harry Allen, who gives the sound  Lou Donaldson vibe.

A touch of elegance is added on three tunes with the addition of a string quartet—a gorgeous take on the often-covered "The Very Thought Of You," a pensive "Nature Boy," and oddly—but very effectively—on Sonny Rollins' "Valse Hot," that sounds like a spirited classical music piece here.

Spitzer nods to Dave Brubeck's favorite alto sax man on "Bossa Antigua," from Paul Desmond's overlooked 1964 RCA Victor album of the same name, laying laid out the tune with a loving faithfulness to the original.

Spitzer and the band and the guests are full of easy-flowing virtuosity and velvety cool passion throughout, on this remarkable debut.

Track Listing: Angel Eyes; Embraceable You; Blues For Harry A; The Very Thought Of You; Bossa Antigua; This is For Luisa; This I Dig Of You; Nature Boy; Triste; Early Autumn; My Romance; Valse Hot.

Personnel: Gil Spitzer alto saxophone; Chico Pinheiro: guitar (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12); Harry Allen: tenor saxophone (3, 7, 10); Julian Shore: piano (1, 3, 4, 4, 6, 6-12); Nilson Matta: acoustic bass; Mauricio Zottarelli: drums (5, 6, 9, 11); Steve Johns: drums (1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 10, 12); Fernando Saci: percussion (2, 9, 11); Amanda Lo: violin (4, 8, 12); Monica Davis: violin (4, 8, 12); Angela Pickett: viola (4, 8, 12);Jessie Reagen Man: cello (4, 8, 12).

Title: Falando Docemente | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Zoho Music

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