A panoply of percussion erupts from Love the Donkey as Cyro Baptista and his merry troupe of percussionists and special guests unleash fourteen tracks of manic energy and irrepressible fun. It serves as an effective antidote to overly cerebral and self-consciously serious music.
Throughout his prolific career, Baptista has voraciously performed most imaginable (and some unimaginable) genres of music, and here he unabashedly borrows from them all. The resulting concoction transcends static notions of rock, Brazilian, jazz, and pop forms and soundsnot for tongue-in-cheek irony, but as a personal reflection and compelling "world music" in the best sense.
Surprises abound as songs shift feels and styles, deftly executed by the ensemble. On "Rio de Jamaica, the rollicking groove, funky guitar riff and horn pops at the start morph into a relaxed reggae under the influence of producer/keyboardist Jamie Saft, ending in an entirely different place. Saxophonist Peter Apfelbaum offsets the kinetic percussion and vocals of "Forro For All with a blustery horn figure supported with finesse by the group, before the tune's final frenzied dissolution.
On the appropriately titled "Tap on Cajon, his brief sax interlude adds color to the minimalist percussion and acoustic bass. The subtle Zeppelin-inflected guitar on Baptista's tunes becomes overt with a spirited reading of "Immigrant Song introduced by, of all things, Robert Curto's accordion. Curto mingles effectively with Mark Feldman's dazzling gypsy/classical violin lyricism on the charming "Maria Teresa.
Baptista's music for his Beat the Donkey ensemble works because it's done honestly and with contagious enthusiasm. Love the Donkey testifies that humor does indeed belong in music.
Track Listing: American Constitution;
Personnel: Cyro Baptista: percussion, vocals, samples;
Viva De Concini: guitar, percussion, vocals
Tim Keiper, Amir Ziv: drums, percussion, vocals;
Chikako Iwahori: vocals, percussion, tap;
Scott Kettner, Z
I was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me
I was first exposed to jazz as a baby. When I was a child, my parents regularly played classic jazz, i.e., Fitzgerald, Hawkins, Holiday, Davis, Coltrane, Monk, Montgomery, Silver, etc. I vividly remember sitting in front of the stereo as a kid, rocking back and forth to jazz, so the music is embedded in me. As a life-long jazz lover, I eventually became a jazz educator and producer/host of a very popular jazz radio program in Los Angeles, California.
I love jazz because it is so free. I can think, feel, and dream to jazz, and it allows my mind to flow and expand, musically and otherwise. I also love jazz because it, much like other forms of music, allows opportunities to bring people from all walks of life together. What makes jazz more significant to me, though, is its historical significance; that is, how jazz served, in part, as a method of bringing communities together, a cultural/social/spiritual conduit.