What is Supergenerous? Well, basically it's two guys, Brazilian percussionist Cyro Batista and Canadian guitarist Kevin Breit, making a hell of a lot of great music that defies easy categorization. There's not much to compare them to, but if you enjoy similarly adventurous spirits like Marc Ribot's Los Cubanos Postizos, the Jazz Passengers and the Latin Playboys, you should get a kick out of Supergenerous.
On their debut recording on Blue Note, Batista and Breit - who share big-time pop and jazz credits with the likes of Paul Simon, Cassandra Wilson, k.d. lang, Herbie Hancock and Laurie Anderson - mix and match a wide variety of sounds into an enticing and original musical stew. There's a taste of country blues on the opener, "The Legend of Johnny Cactus," a bit of Western swing on "Sao Paolo Slim," some tropical moods straight out of Buena Vista on "A Sigh and Shiver," even journeys into trance on "Pelicula" and techno on "God's Parking Lot." For straight-up jazz fans, the duo offers highly original interpretations of Ellington's "Caravan" and "Take the A Train." And for good measure, and good humor, they throw in a sweet take on the theme from the Mary Tyler Moore Show.
In addition to a wealth of talent and exuberance, Batista and Breit bring some very impressive collections of instruments to the proceedings. Batista's percussion arsenal includes various Latin drums, cowbells, metal refrigerator drawers and several self-made instruments. Not to be outdone, Breit plays a variety of electric and acoustic guitars, steel guitar, slide guitar, mandolin, even a contraption called a "Guitorgan," which was probably used by '60s garage bands. Though it's essentially a duo record - Cassandra Wilson sits in for a down-home take on "Home on the Range" - it frequently sounds as if a much larger band is at work here.
While it will probably get filed in the World Music bin at your local CD shop, Supergenerous is really that rarest of things in contemporary music: something you haven't heard before.
Track Listing: The Legend of Jounny Cactus; Sao Paolo Slim; Dreamin' of a Train/Take the A Train; Home on the Range; God's Parking Lot; Steinbeck; Marisa O'Brien; Brohemia; Pelicula; Caravan/Camel, Sand and Caravan; A Sigh and Shiver; Love is All Around; Whistling in the Rain.
Personnel: Kevin Breit, guitars; Cyro Batista, percussion.
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr
I met Erroll Garner at The Theatrical Grill in Cleveland a few hours before our family was to see him on stage at Severance Hall. That was 45 years ago and I was only 15! I spotted him nearby in a booth wearing a beautiful tux with a great white napkin draped over him! I was a little nervous as I approached him (he was eating shrimp cocktail) and said, Mr. Garner, I love playing the piano... is there any advice you could give me?'' He hesitated, then looked back at me and said, Keep playin' and don't stop!'' That was great advice because at 60 years old, I'm still playin' and haven't stopped!