280

Richard Drexler: Seor Juan Brahms

By

Sign in to view read count
Richard Drexler: Pianist/bassist/vocalist Richard Drexler has crafted an eclectic recording, full of fire and humor, saluting the music of Johannes Brahms reinvented through Latin American rhythms. Along the way he also tips his hat to American popular music.

The imaginative Drexler uses the vallenato and cumbia (Columbia), tango (Argentina), bolero (Cuba), merengue, pasajes and gaitas (Venezuela), festejo and lando (Peru), samba and bossa (Brazil), and candombe (Uruguay) to blur the distinctions seemingly separating classical, jazz, and Latin American music. Not everything works—for instance, the sugar-coated "Piano Quartet #3 in C minor —but more often than not, Drexler hits the mark.

The familiar Brahms themes "Hungarian Dance #1 in G minor and "Hungarian Dance #5 in F# minor are thoughtfully rearranged. Drexler offers a driving straight-ahead piano solo on the former, while the latter sports exhilarating, if short-lived, tenor counterpoint between Bob Mintzer and George Allgaier. On the "Piano Quartet #3 in C minor Allgaier blows an aggressive tenor solo that contrasts well with Kenny Drew Jr. and Mintzer's elegant turns on piano and bass clarinet, respectively.

The non-Brahms material, including a festejo-flavored arrangement of the classic "Epistrophy (composed by Thelonious Monk and Kenny Clarke), exemplifies the ecumenical nature of this project. Alto saxophonist Oscar Feldman opens his solo with an allusion to "Caravan and the track soars from there. Drexler adds pop into the mix with the '60s tune "I'll Never Find Another You, featuring himself on bass and on an appealing vocal with an outstanding scat chorus. Especially notable is his voicing of the two brass and four reeds. On "Where Is Love?, the strings and overdubbed voices are arresting, but this time out, the vocal is more of an acquired taste, never really allowing the beauty of the melody and lyric to shine. Drexler returns to the Brahms program and along the way offers one of the loveliest moments: a quiet bossa piano solo on "Intermezzo in A minor.

In the program notes, Drexler urges listeners to "listen to recordings of the original versions of all these pieces to hear the context and omitted material. Projects like this will hopefully help bridge the divide, creating music people, not just jazz people, or classical people, or rock people, or "you name the music genre people.


Track Listing: Hungarian Dance #1 in g minor; Piano Quintet in f minor, Op. 34 - 3rd movement/Piano Quartet #3 in c minor, Op. 60 - 1st movement; Piano Quartet #3 in c minor, Op. 60 - 3rd movement; Hungarian Dance #5 in f# minor; Introduction to Epistrophy; Epistrophy; I'll Never Find Another You; Where Is Love?; Intermezzo in a minor, Op. 76, No. 7; String Quintet #2 in G, Op. 111 - 1st movement; String Quintet #2 in G, Op. 111 - 2nd movement; String Quintet #2 in G, Op. 111 - 3rd movement; String Quintet #2 in G, Op. 111- 4th movement; Capriccio in d minor, Op. 116, No. 1; Violin Concerto in D, Op. 77 - 3rd movement

Personnel: Richard Drexler: piano, bass, vocals, saxolodica, violin, viola, cello, cajon, percussion; Alex Acuna: drums; Tracy Alexander: drums; George Allgaier: tenor saxophone; John Allred: trombone; David Anderson: accordion; Jeff Berlin: electric bass; Kenny Drew Jr.: electric piano; Darcy Drexler-Anderson: violin; Oscar Feldman: soprano and alto saxophones; Danny Gottlieb: djembe; John Jenkins: timbales and percussion; Eddie Marshall: clarinet; Bob Mintzer: tenor saxophone and bass clarinet; Gumbi Ortiz: congas and floor tom; Craig Pichanick: drums; Jon Richardson: bass drum; Orlando Sanchez: bongos, timbales, congas and cajon; Mike Scaglione: flute and alto saxophone; Oscar Stagnaro: electric bass; Marvin Stamm: fluegelhorn; Paul Von Adam: trumpet; Rex Wertz: piccolo, soprano and tenor saxophones; Richie Zellon: guitar.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Songosaurus Music | Style: Latin/World


Shop

More Articles

Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2) CD/LP/Track Review TAI Fest #1 (Vol.1&2)
by Nicola Negri
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Goat Man & The House of the Dead CD/LP/Track Review Goat Man & The House of the Dead
by Dave Wayne
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by James Nadal
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Natural Language" CD/LP/Track Review Natural Language
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: September 2, 2016
Read "Stille Post (Radio Works: 2003-2011)" CD/LP/Track Review Stille Post (Radio Works: 2003-2011)
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 17, 2016
Read "Border Crossing" CD/LP/Track Review Border Crossing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 28, 2016
Read "A Cut Through The Heart" CD/LP/Track Review A Cut Through The Heart
by Jack Gold-Molina
Published: March 30, 2016
Read "In Denmark 1959-1960" CD/LP/Track Review In Denmark 1959-1960
by Chris Mosey
Published: November 7, 2016
Read "Closer To The Sun" CD/LP/Track Review Closer To The Sun
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 10, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!