With the recent surge in popularity of world music, Latin jazz, and salsa, this Brazilian offering is a very timely and tasty arrival on the jazz marketplace. Two for Brazil is a duo composed of Paulinho Garcia, originally from Brazil, on guitar and vocals, and Chicago native Greg Fishman on saxophone and flute. This is the follow-up to their previous release, Standards. They have performed together since 1998, and their musical rapport is immediately evident in this collaboration. As they converse musically through this collection of medium and up-tempo sambas, bossas, and Brazilian boleros, these two compliment each other in amazingly perfect synchronization. With the exception of the title tune by Paul Desmond and Dizzy Gillespie's "Night in Tunisia," the other tunes in this outing expose a wide range of less familiar Brazilian material. The beauty of this album is its overall feeling and unique musicality.
Fishman is a disciple of Stan Getz, and has a similar breathy sound, although a bit edgier. For the most part, his sax or flute compliments the melodic and rhythmic lead established by Garcia; occasionally he soars on his own in a solo or intro. Garcia is a master of rhythm and melody on his guitar, as well as vocally. This talent gives depth and fullness to the duo setting, adding another color to the tapestry.
Garcia's voice is like warm velvet in his ballad interpretations. In the up-tempo sambas, it is transformed into another percussion instrument with his scat-like vocalizations. Take Five is a very listenable album with a nice mix of tempos and styles. The ballads make me wish I'd studied Portuguese when I had the chance.