Duduka Da Fonseca, perhaps best known as a founding member of Trio Da Paz, avers that he has been blending samba with jazz all his life. He showcased this in 2002 when he led a fine band of musicians on Samba Jazz Fantasia (Malandro Records) and directed a whole new load of listeners in the direction of the music close to his heart. Now comes another stint at the helm, and Da Fonseca turns the assimilation of the two forms into a sublime triumph.
If one undeniable trait of this recording springs out and latches on, it is the way in which the solid groove of the melody is expanded by the harmonious flights of the musicians. Da Fonseca gives the beat a flexibility and pulse, driving the tune and lighting a fire under the lead voice. On "Mestre Bimba he shows off a rhythm he moulded out of several forms into one. As he skitters and scampers and emphasizes the beat, the others give vent to their passionAnat Cohen with jutting lines that curl across the upper registers of the soprano saxophone, Helio Alves affirming the melody with a percussive brightness, Guilherme Monteiro playing the guitar with thick, loquacious notes, enunciating the melody with some scampering jazz harmony.
Egberto Gismonti's composition "Palhaço is a charmer. Cohen, once again on the soprano, brings a fervour to her playing that finds her shaping and reshaping the melody, dissecting it and breaking it and then healing it again into one throbbing body. Alves is also a strong composer; his "Sambetinho shimmers like water under the bright sunlight. As a pianist, he brings to the fore the rich melody while Da Fonseca shapes the pulse, his sticks dancing on the cymbals and traps.
This is a deliciously delightful album.
Track Listing: Mestre Bimba; Janeiro; Bye Bye Brasil; Chorinho Pra Ele; Viver De Amor; Medo De Amar;
Personnel: Duduka Da Fonseca: drums, percussion; Helio Alves: piano; Leonardo Cioglia: acoustic bass;
Anat Cohen: soprano and tenor saxophones, clarinet; Guilherme Monteiro: electric and
acoustic guitars; Maucha Adnet: vocals (1,6); Alana Da Fonseca: vocals (1); Vic Juris: guitar
(5,6); Paulo Levi: tenor sax (5), flute (6); Claudio Roditi: trumpet (3).
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.