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Andrea Brachfeld's association with Charanga '76, Wayne Wallace, Tipica Ideal, Tito Puente and many others helped to establish her as the first flute lady of Latin jazz, but that designation, while flattering, is limiting. Lady Of The Island posits that she's actually been a closeted straight ahead player all along. For her fifth leader date, and first on the Zoho label, Brachfeld unleashes brazen chops and beauty with heart and flute aflutter.
Brachfeld brings her own written work to the table, along with the music of influences and favorites like piano giant Herbie Hancock and compositional king of the hill Duke Ellington, as she builds a well-balanced musical offering. Balladry ("In The Center"), sly strutting hard bop ("Bebop Hanna"), bossa-tinged gentility ("Lady Of The Island"), a pared down duo encounter on a classic (Ellington's "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)") and a smoking, up-tempo bop workout ("Dead Ahead") attest to the fact that Brachfeld knows no boundaries.
Latin inflections aren't entirely abandoned, as made clear on the spicy, conga-enhanced "Four Corners," but they're often suppressed or simply quarantined to a specific section of a song, as on pianist Bill O'Connell's stylistically shifting arrangement of trumpeter Freddie Hubbard's "Birdlike." Percussionist Chembo Corniel and O'Connell are responsible for the lion's share of the Latin accents that exist in this work, but other notable musicians have a profound influence on the success of these songs. Trombonist Wycliffe Gordon brings his inimitable skills and sound effects to bear as the album gets underway ("Bebop Hanna" and "Eye Of The Hurricane"), trumpeter Wallace Roney brings his muscular horn into the picture when the heat is on ("Dead Ahead") and drummer Kim Plainfield proves to be the engine that powers these pieces.
Lady Of The Island is Brachfeld's own jazzminus the "Latin"awakening, but it may also serve to rouse those who may be unaware of her abilities in this arena. This marks the dawn of a new day for the fabulous flute of Andrea Brachfeld and those willing to open their ears to it.
Bebop Hanna; Eye Of The Hurricane; I Got It Bad; Little Girl's Song; Dead Ahead; Birdlike; In The Center; Lady Of The Island; Four Corners.
Andrea Brachfeld: C flute (1, 2, 4-7, 9), alto flute (3, 8), vocals (8); Bob Quaranta: piano (4, 9), Fender Rhodes (8); Andy Eulau: bass (1, 2, 4-9); Kim Plainfield: drums (1, 2, 4-9); Todd Bashore: alto saxophone (2, 6); Chembo Corniel: congas (2, 6, 8, 9), percussion (8); Wycliffe Gordon: trombone (1, 2, 6); Yasek Manzano: trumpet (2, 6, 9), flugelhorn (8); Bill O'Connell: piano (1-3, 5-8); Wallace Roney: trumpet (2, 5).