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Scott Feiner & Pandeiro Jazz: New York City, NY, December 01, 2012

Ernest Barteldes BY

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Scott Feiner & Pandeiro Jazz
Zinc Bar
New York, NY
December 1, 2012

Rio de Janeiro-based, New York-born pandeiro master Scott Feiner constantly seeks different approaches for the genre he arguably created when he incorporated his instrument—a trademark of sambas and chorinho—into a more contemporary jazz format. Since the release of his debut, Pandeiro Jazz (Delira Musica, 2006), he has fronted drummer-less quartets (bass, guitar, saxophone) that explore alternate sonic textures with a Brazilian feel, but also defined by a unique vibe.

On his first visit to New York since 2010, Feiner changed his usual format by leading a trio rounded out by two Brazilian-born musicians—guitarist Guilherme Monteiro and keyboardist Vitor Gonçalves. The trio kicked off the set with the title track from Feiner's second album, Dois Mundos (Biscoito Fino, 2008), balancing classic samba grooves and hard-swinging jazz —swinging hard, thanks to Monteiro's dexterity and fresh Carioca approach to electric guitar. Gonçalves kept a tight backbeat, contributing a fluid solo halfway through the song.

Also from Dois Mundos, "Conde" followed, a great demonstration of the developing chemistry of these three musicians; with a smaller group, there was an opportunity to explore empty spaces for freer improvisation. Still unreleased original tunes like "O Forno" and "A View From Below" were fine examples of how Feiner has evolved as a composer. His years in Brazil (where he relocated over a decade ago) have clearly influenced his songwriting. Though now he is strictly a pandeirista, he still writes on guitar, the instrument on which he began his musical career -and it is evident the tropical breezes of his Botafogo neighborhood have touched his hands.

Feiner's Pandeiro Jazz project surprised at every turn. He could have, by now, just continued to play as he did when he started out, but instead he is constantly finding new grooves that keep his audience on its toes.

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