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Philippe Baden Powell: Notes Over Poetry

Chris M. Slawecki By

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Notes Over Poetry is Philippe Baden Powell's tribute to his personal and musical connections and encounters. "I can't remember a time making music just by myself, I've always felt like a kid with toys waiting for friends to come and play," he recalls.

Notes Over Poetry seems to grow more beautiful as you progress through each track into a blossoming flower of Brazilian sound. Powell is the son of composer and guitarist Baden Powell de Aquino, a legendary founding father of bossa nova. But he sounds as a pianist more like the music heir to Antonio Carlos Jobim; along with Jobim's soft, luscious jazz-tinged touch, he paints in sounds both soft and bright to color music that's deeply rooted in tradition yet sounds contemporary.

The gentle melody and supple rhythm underlying the acoustic jazz trio piece "Quem Sabe?" reflects Jobim's brilliance—especially Powell's hesitatingly tender vocal, which sounds like he was singing this quietly to himself. The pianist's vocal also adores this bouncy and bright "Chica," tart but smooth pop frosted by the horns' cool shade and topped with Powell's suave piano solo. Another acoustic piano trio piece, "For You To Know," is this set's sparkling gemstone, as Powell's dexterous touch suggests the asymmetrical musings of Keith Jarrett and the ripe romanticism of Burt Bacharach. (Powell recorded parts of this set's pristine sound at the Bill Evans Piano Academy.)

Two other Powell originals cast quiet but potent spells. An insistent thump from bassist Rafael Paseiro and French jazz drummer Andre "Dede" Ceccarelli (who has worked with everyone from Aretha Franklin to Michel Legrand) gently propels "Recado Pra Você," while Paula Tesser's vocal splits the difference between Bebel Gilberto and Sade, turning its sound into the vision of twilight stroll along a Brazilian beach. In the colorful "Hues," vocalist and co-composer David Linx switches between doubling and completing Powell's dancing, Chick Corea quicksilver melody. Violin steps up as the pianist's dance partner in the folkish, miniature instrumental gem "Salvadora."

Powell explains Notes Over Poetry in his own notes: "The great Brazilian poet and old family friend Vinicius de Moraes used to say that, 'Life is the art of encounter,' and that is what this album is about."

Track Listing: Vamos Donatear?; Notes Over The Poetry; For You To Know; Hues; Chica; The Lonely Dreamer; Recado Pra Você; Salvadora; Quem Sabe?; State of Music.

Personnel: Philippe Baden Powell: acoustic piano, Fender Rhodes; Rafael Paseiro: acoustic bass, electric bass; André Ceccarelli: drums; Ruca Rubordão: percussion; Amir Mahla: tenor saxophone; Marlon Moore: vocals; David Linx: vocals; Alexandre Vaz: acoustic guitar; Paula Tesser: vocals; Sidney Rodrigues: electric guitar; Renata Neves: viola; Delphine Blanc: vocals; Rubinho Antunes: trumpet and brass arrangements.

Title: Notes Over Poetry | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Far Out Recordings

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