Those familiar with Amanda Ruzza's debut solo This Is What Happened (2012, Pimenta Music) will find no similarities between that project and this collaboration with fellow Brazilian drummer Mauricio Zottarelli. While that first disc went into more of a samba-jazz direction, this one could be classified as an electronic jazz album with funk-blues tendencies. Playing in a trio featuring Leo Genovese on a variety of keyboards and saxophones, the disc kicks off with "Soundcheck," a funk-inspired tune in which the keys play a plethora of sounds and even seem to fail (via a strange cracking sound) halfway through. That is followed by "Glasses," a tune that has almost a rock feel and whose groove allows Ruzza to experiment a lot with her bass line.
The most experimental track on the disc is "No Glasses," which has an eerie melody with layers of keys and then switches into a more traditional jazz groove with Genovese on sax , ending suddenly with some studio chatter in Spanish. "Classic Golden" is more melodic, shifting tempos between a Latin funk beat and a slower tempo that features an accomplished bass solo that wanders through the left and right channels (which is more noticeable with headphones). The album closes with the inventive "Everybody's Talking," a tune that begins with a reggae drumbeat and then evolves into a seemingly improvisational piece with a looping bass line that allows Genovese and Zottarelli to exercise their creativities.
Glasses, No Glasses is clearly not to be mistaken for a "Brazilian jazz" albumit is clearly an exercise in creativity that deserves close attention. It is definitely not easy to listen to at first, but after repeated hearings it can be highly enjoyable.
Track Listing: Souncheck; Glasses; Big Foot; No Glasses; Fuego; Classic Golden; Sugar
High; Everybody's Talking
I love jazz because...it's in my blood! My late father, Billy Ainsworth, was a musical prodigy who dropped out of school at 17 after he stunned the seasoned musicians of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with an in-off-the-street audition
I love jazz because...it's in my blood! My late father, Billy Ainsworth, was a musical prodigy who dropped out of school at 17 after he stunned the seasoned musicians of the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra with an in-off-the-street audition. He was on the band bus the next day as Dorsey's alto sax and clarinet player, and never looked back. He played with great bandleaders such as Freddie Martin, Tex Beneke and Ray McKinley, some before he was out of his teens (they had to lie about his age to get him into nightclubs). Many older musicians have told me he was the greatest alto sax player they ever worked with. He was equally great on clarinet and was clarinetist and harmony singer for cocktail jazz pioneers, the Ernie Felice Quartet.
He eventually left the road and settled down, and that's when I came in. By that time, he was, by day, vocal group session leader/player/arranger for classic jingles and commercial music produced in Dallas. At night, he played in society bands, jazz combos and elegant showrooms. Tuesdays were slow in the showrooms, so band members' families got in free, and my mom took me to see him backing such legends as Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Steve and Eydie, and a very old Ella Fitzgerald. Between that, hearing his record collection, growing up around the legendary musicians and singers who were like aunts and uncles to me, and just listening to him practice around the house, filling the neighborhood with incredible jazz sax riffs, I couldn't help becoming that weird kid who was listening to Peggy Lee, Ella and Manhattan Transfer when my classmates were listening to rock, country and soul.
Even though he died before I ever sang professionally, he remains my inspiration and all my CDs are dedicated to him. I like to think that he'd like my music, since it's built on the foundation he handed down to me.