192

Heloisa Fernandes: Fruto

Matt Cibula By

Sign in to view read count
Heloisa Fernandes: Fruto If Helo'isa Fernandes didn't exist, I think I would have to invent her. Fernandes is a Brazilian jazz pianist and composer who is equally influenced by Bill Evans and forró; she plays with great pointillist intricacy as easily as she forms great sweeping legato phrases; she sounds as confident doing her own improvisational mini-portraits as she does covering Caetano Veloso songs. Surely she can't really be real.

And yet she is, and this disc is proof. She gives herself free reign to go where she will, but somehow manages to imprint her style-of-many-styles on the listener with no sense of contradiction or worry. In 49 minutes, Fernandes manages to form a unified musical personality, even though the tracks range from "Voo," where she lets flautist Teco Cardoso blow sweetly over her Alan Broadbent-esque fills; to "Colheita," where vocal percussionist/madman Naná Vasconcelos does his beatboxing all over the place; to the meditative "Jasmim," which is funereal and somber.

"Criança" is the prettiest, because it's the longest and because the haunting melody is passed back and forth skillfully amongst Fernandes and her accompanying string duo, Cláudio Cruz and Alceu Reis. This melody mutates four or five times in nine minutes, but never really strays too far from just being beautiful and intricate and meaningful. Fernandes is not trying to be avant-garde here, nor is she aiming for the lowest common denominator. She is just being herself.

But the much more subdued title track, which comes right afterwards, is just as deep, and just as important, in half the time. And the childlike "Rosa," an older song by folk singer Pixinguinha, manages to be playful and simple even as it rambles all over the place. Fernandes' attack is tight, but her fingers are loose, and her ears are wide open. And she knows how to play with people, too: her interplay with bassist Zeca Assumpção is probably not actually telepathic, but it must be very close, as they always know right where to go before the other one makes a move.

I'm not sure that the six tiny pieces that make up the final track, "Suite das Meninas," entirely come together, and some of the longer compositions end up sounding like they're repeating themselves. But those are my only quibbles with this record. Overall, Helo'isa Fernandes clearly has a vision of what she wants to accomplish in the studio, and this is just a flat-out mission statement of her philosophy. Maybe it's not any more unusual than "Make up great songs and play the hell out of them"... but isn't that what it's all about anyway?


Track Listing: Voo; Rosa; Colheita; Criana; Fruto; Trilhos Urbanos; Jasmim; Suite das Meninas: Beatriz, Isabel, Maria, Laura, Ins, Rita.

Personnel: Heloisa Fernandes: piano; Zeca Assumpo: bass; Cludio Cruz: violin Alceu Reis: cello; Teco Cardoso: flutes; Ari Colares: percussion; Sergio Rze, Andr Magalhes: drums and percussion; Nan Vasconcelos, percussion and vocal percussion.

Year Released: 2005 | Style: Brazilian


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "The Last Remaining Payphone in L.A." CD/LP/Track Review The Last Remaining Payphone in L.A.
by Paul Naser
Published: October 18, 2016
Read "Beguiled" CD/LP/Track Review Beguiled
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: October 9, 2016
Read "The Caustic Ballads" CD/LP/Track Review The Caustic Ballads
by Glenn Astarita
Published: April 27, 2016
Read "Tropical Infinito" CD/LP/Track Review Tropical Infinito
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 8, 2016
Read "Jazz Jukebox" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz Jukebox
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "April" CD/LP/Track Review April
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 29, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!