Surprises abound in this delightful Brazilian album from an Australian group with the unlikely moniker of The View From Madeleine's Couch. It is also reasonable to expect that you won't be able to find this in your favorite music store filed properly unless some sharp-eyed employee was able to make the proper categorization.
The group consists of singer/percussionist Anje West and vibraphonist/percussionist/arranger Kym Ambrose. They are supported by guitar, rhythm section and occasional string quartet. Five of these ten tracks are originals and all but one are in Portugeuse. The View From Madeleine's Couch does a convincing job of sounding very much like home-grown Brazilians and there is no clue that the recording took place halfway around the world from Rio. The group's inspiration for this album was a 2004 visit to Brazil.
The music includes songs from the pens of Djavan, Jobim/Chico Buarque and the most durable tune, "Berimbau" was written by Baden Powell and Vinicius de Moraes. The sole English language, "Laze Away" was composed by Ambrose and West. The attractive and largely up-tempo sambas are further enlivened by the energetic vibraphone playing of Kym Ambrose whose multi-mallet work places this firmly in a jazz bossa setting.
Track Listing: Historia do Samba, Nossa Familia, Berimbau, Anos Dourados, Cancao do Sereia, Samba do Mar, Laze Away, Eu So Quero Um Xodo, Parati, Fato Consumado.
Personnel: Kym Ambrose, vibraphone, tambourine; Anje West, vocals, triangle, surdo, shakers, guiro, wood blocks with
Owen Newcomb or Helen Russell,bass; Mark Henman or Joe Marchisella,drums; Jamie Clark,guitar
String Quartet: Eugenie Costello, Shenton Gregory,violin; Danielle Bentley, cello; Dave Collins, viola; John Stefulj,flute; Kym Ambrose,string arrangements
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.