A Brazilian Soul
I am convinced that the only requirement one needs to play Brazilian music and assure audiences that what they hear is authentic is a Brazilian soul. Kimson Plaut’s Ubatuba validates my statement beyond any doubts. Ubatuba, which in Tupi-Guarani means place of the canoes, is Kimson’s soulful reflection of the 11 years he spent in Brazil (Ubatuba is a city in the state of São Paulo). He composed eight of the nine tracks in this release, and his arrangements embrace what is most authoritative in Brazilian instrumental traditions. Masterfully blending American jazz with bossa nova, baião, choro and samba, Kimson parallels his artistic performances to those of other masters in Brazilian instrumental music, such as Cesar Camargo Mariano and José Roberto Bertrami (of Azymuth).
“Lacraia: is a most fitting overture. This song showcases Vanderlei Pereira’s drums and Café’s percussion in rare form. The horn section, composed by Steve Sacks, Rick Savage, Aaron Heick and David Sacks, has full dominance through most of this song. When Romero Lubambo’s acoustic guitar takes over, the mood smoothly shifts into another direction. Swinging back and forth from progressive jazz to samba, Kimson skillfully captures your attention for the rest of the CD. “Ubatuba” itself is a more relaxed soft samba clearly intended to convey a bossa-nova feeling. The arrangement and Kimson’s performance will most likely make you think of some of Cesar Camargo Mariano’s arrangements for the great Elis Regina. With “Mercado Modelo,” Kimson reminisces of the time he spent in Recife. His accordion and Steve Sacks’s flutes transport you to any city market in northeast Brazil. Paquito D’Rivera’s clarinet solo enriches “Rice & Beans,” a samba-choro like the ones we are used to hearing from Pixinguinha. Kimson, like in Luiz Simas’s New Chorinhos from Brazil, carries forward a Brazilian musical legacy. Once again, the rich imagery Kimson attains with his music is highlighted as his fingers glide on the ivory in “Camburí.” Like a gentle breeze, “Camburí” harmonizes nature and music. This constant balance is the focus in Ubatuba. Even when Kimson chooses the Brazilian Lady of Jazz, Leny Andrade, to join in the only vocal number in this majestic release, his choice could not have been any better. “Considerando,” by Edu Lobo and Capinam, is one of those songs that will haunt you forever. Leny’s smoky voice and Kimson’s crystal piano blend in a most perfect combination.
Ubatuba is a rare paragon in Brazilian instrumental music. The evocative images and Kimson’s stirringly heartfelt performances are a consummate portrait of the Brazilian soul.
If Ubatuba is not distributed where you live, please search online vendors. Kimson Plaut died November 17, 2001.
LPC 01/96 (1996)
All tracks by Kimson Plaut, except where noted.
- Mercado Modelo
- Rice & Beans (Feijão com Arroz)
- Porto de Galinhas
- Considerando (Edu Lobo – Capinam) w/ Leny Andrade
- Samba Queens
A modified version of this review first appeared in Luna Kafé, February 1998.