Good Friends in All the Right Places!
Following his successful 2007 Amigos Brasileiros, Harvey Wainapel (saxophonist and clarinetist) revisits that idea with a great twist. Whereas in that CD he was surrounded by musician primarily from the southeast of Brazil (mainly the Rio de Janeiro-São Paulo area), this time Wainapel travels northeast to delve into the rich culture and sounds of that region. What a lucky treat this is for his listeners!
The premise behind Amigos Brasileiros Vol. 2 is similar to Wainapel’s previous exploration of Brazilian music mentioned above. Each song has a different composer, different rhythm and different musicians. What unites all of them in this most appealing repertoire is the freshness of the sound. The music is captivating, and the performances are stellar. Wainapel explains that “there are so many traditions and styles [in Brazilian music] that are very localized and not commercial.” Not being something you’ll likely hear on Brazilian radios is what I love most about the CD — in addition to the great music and performances! It is indeed an ambitious project, and Wainapel is to be commended for stepping out of a musician’s comfort zone and taking new and bold steps to showcase such incredible musicianship.
It is a well-know understatement about Brazilian instrumental music that it is overshadowed by vocal music. Nevertheless, when one samples music by Weber Iago, Léa Freire, SpokFrevo Orquestra, Gilson Peranzzetta, Thiago do Espírito Santo (all of these featured in this album) as well as Marco Pereira, Cláudia Vilella, Guinga and André Mehmari (featured in Amigos Brasileiros), there is no doubt how strong the Brazilian contemporary music scene is.
Right with the first track, “Mamulengo,” one is transported to the streets of Olinda (in the Recife metropolitan area, state of Pernambuco) during Carnaval. The playful arrangement and interplay between piano and clarinet give you a glimpse of these papier-mâché huge puppets (mamulengos) seen in the streets of Olinda. If that first track does not grab your attention, then hold on and get ready to be swept away with “Nilinho na Aldeia,” an electrifying caboclinho tune written especially for the album. Spok and Harvey on soprano sax have a blast with Lucas dos Prazeres on percussion as the three musicians play unison and dueling solos with a most delirious percussion accompaniment. I personally cannot get enough of this track. Amazing sounds! Also borrowing from the rich music of Pernambuco, “Triunfando” features the Orquestra Retratos do Nordeste in an infectious xote, which also features the songwriter Marco César on a mandolin solo with Harvey on soprano sax.
Amigos Brasileiros Vol. 2 was produced by Harvey Wainapel and recorded in various cities in Brazil and the U.S.. Complementing the fine repertoire, the graphic design and artwork in the liner notes are beautiful. An extra bonus is Wainapel’s detailed commentary for each track in the album. It enriches the music and performances we hear knowing more about each track. You can read more about the artist and this release at Harvey Wainapel’s website.
Amigos Brasileiros Vol. 2 will be available on Tuesday, September 2.
Amigos Brasileiros Vol. 2
JazzMission Records #13001 (2013)
- Mamulengo (Léa Freire) – w/ Léa Freire (piano)
- Boneca de Pano (Enéias Xavier) – w/ Enéias Xavier (acoustic bass)
- Nilinho na Aldeia (Spok) – w/ Spok (soprano sax)
- Palavras de Menina (Weber Iago) – w/ Weber Iago (piano)
- Triunfando (Marco César – João Lyra) – w/ Orquestra Retratos do Nordeste
- Nas Ruas de Perdizes (Harvey Wainapel) – w/ Gilson Peranzzetta (piano)
- Árvore (Wilson Lopes) – w/ Wilson Lopes (acoustic guitar)
- Procurando Encrenca (Izaías Bueno de Almeida) – w/ Izaías Bueno de Almeida (mandolin)
- Velho Realejo (Custódio Mesquita – Sadi Cabral) – w/ Thiago do Espírito Santo (electric bass)