Jazz Lives, Also in Brazil
It seems to be an ever lasting story. Like in the rest of the world, Jazz isn’t much talked about in Brazil either. This music style is very often qualified with the unrewarding subtitle “musician’s music”. This is, of course, nonsense. Nevertheless, it’s an extra difficulty its artists have to deal with. Also the small legion of jazz lovers often has to go through serious problems finding the heroes it treasures, since not seldom are the best releases the independent ones. À Deriva is no exception. A straight jazz quartet formed by natural talented São Paulo based musicians. The craftsmanship they show on this debut album confirms the high quality of Brazil’s instrumentalists.
Leader of the quartet is Porto Alegre born saxophonist Beto Sporleder. His interest in literature and European alternative movies unmistakably influenced his approach to the music he writes and performs. The total freedom in the interpretation of the themes refers to the non-commercial basis of his preferred art forms. He uses his different saxophones (baritone, tenor and soprano) and flutes to adjust to his sentiment of a composition. Bassist Rui Barossi also has a special interest in creative art forms like theatre, for which he wrote various music. Drummer Guilherme Marques has studied and worked with some of Brazil’s most renowned drummers. Pianist Daniel Muller showed his talent during numerous occasions in instrumental music. He can also be heard on the album Choro Elétrico (Grupo Quarto a Zero).
À Deriva has been frequenting jazz clubs for about two years in order to shape their music before taking it into the recording studio. The compositions are constantly interpreted in different ways. Also this album shows a “snapshot” into the life of each composition. “Sol Menor” is the ballad that opens the cd. Immediately the extreme quality of the musicians can be witnessed. The attentively haunting drums and the solid, inventive bass lines support the fine soprano sax and piano solos in the very best way. Beto Sporleder wrote a suite of four miniatures (“Silêncio”) that each serves very well as interludes on this album. “Silêncio II” nicely flows over in the percussion/tenor sax opening of “Brejeirinha.” In this work the soloists completely take possession of the composition. It changes in sentiment. First we have the free opening, followed by the staccato theme and then the interplay between the piano and the soloing bass. Again it’s amazing how many fantastic bassists there are in Brazil. The sound Rui Barossi produces is natural and deep. It makes both his soloing and his accompanying function sound very up front and melodic. Something that is also noticeable during the unison theme performance of “Tão Longe.” Drummer Marques tries to escape from it and manages to allow pianist Muller, on the Fender Rhodes piano, to derive from the theme. It’s a beautiful piece of work. “Silêncio III” leads into the steady repeated theme phrase of “Pra Tocar na Chuva.” The theme is turned upside down and inside out while pianist Muller performs a very lyric solo on the acoustic piano. The bombastic “Silêncio IV” opens the way for an experimental “905.” This work highlights a raw tenor sax solo. It is accompanied by the Fender Rhodes piano, which has an echo of Chick Corea in his Return to Forever band. “Silêncio I” introduces us to the album’s closing composition “Sítio do Cravo,” a whispering ballad. The piano solo is of wonderful beauty. A beauty that, towards the end of the solo is sublimated by the soft tones of the tenor sax, which almost serves as the sound of a purring cat.
It’s a good thing that this album features only original compositions of À Deriva, although they form only a small part of their repertoire. It shows again how much talent there is in Brazil’s jazz scene. This album knocked me out, just like Heloísa Fernandes did last year with her album Fruto.
Brazilian Jazz lives, although sometimes it’s hard to find. À Deriva, however, can be found here.
Tratore ADVA0002 (2006)
- Sol Menor (Rui Barossi)
- Silêncio II(Beto Sporleder)
- Brejeirinha (Rui Barossi)
- Tão Longe (Beto Sporleder)
- Silêncio III (Beto Sporleder)
- Pra Tocar na Chuva (Daniel Muller)
- Silêncio IV (Beto Sporleder)
- 905 (Rui Barossi)
- Silêncio I (Beto Sporleder)
- Sítio do Cravo (Rui Barossi)