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Recent Listening: Kerry Politzer’s Diagonal


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Kerry Politzer, Diagonal: A Tribute To Durval Ferreira

The pianist recruits several of her talented Pacific Northwest colleagues for this album of pieces by a Brazilian composer whose works were central to the rise of the music that became known as bossa nova. Ferreira’s “O Gato,” “E Nada Mais” and other compositions not only entered the mainstream in his country but were also embraced by American performers, among them Cannonball Adderley, Sarah Vaughan, Herbie Mann and Stan Getz. Politzer’s colleagues here are Portland and Seattle mainstays. John Nastos shines in solos on clarinet, flute and alto saxophone. Ben Graves is prominent on acoustic and electric guitars.

George Colligan, a star pianist in the region, on this occasion plays drums and manages to be both subtle and vigorous. He is assisted on three tracks by percussionist Simon Lucas. Politzer contributes three compositions in tribute to Ferreira, including “Chorino No. 2,” which has her fleet piano solo and rippling clarinet by Nastos. She proves her multi-lingual mettle singing Ferreira’s “Moca Flor” in Portuguese and “The Day It Rained” in English.

Diagonal–now soft and reflective, now compellingly swinging–could launch a welcome new breakout of bossa nova.

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