Leo Gandelman is besides a composer, arranger and producer, one of Brazil’s most popular and sought after saxophonists. At 47 he releases his first live album, after a few relatively high selling studio albums. Although he certainly is a jazz musician, he has decided to focus on the fusion sub section of the genre. Studying at Berklee left its marks, although Leo never forgets his roots.
This September 2001 (Rio) recorded concert covers a few highlights of his musical career. “Solar,” from his 1990 album with the same title, opens the cd in a bit too smooth way, reminding of the American fusion band Spyro Gyra. The sound is perfect, but the very short guitar and piano solos lack any inspiration, while Leo just does his thing. Let’s say it’s an introduction of the band, with wonderful musicians like guitarist Bernardo Bosisio, bassist Alberto Continentino and drummer Juliano Zanoni. The rendition of João Donato and Caetano Veloso’s “A Rã” manages to reflect the playful mind of Donato. The arrangement is tight but pleasant, while the soloing is adequate. Also a nice arrangement is worked out for pop star Beck’s “Dead Weight.” The sound of the acoustic bass seems to stimulate the soloists, while the special effects (Bruno Cardozo is on keyboards, Helder Garcia on percussion) add an interesting contrast. Gandelman shows why he’s one of the most demanded saxophonists. His own composition “Morar na Areia” turns off the heat again, a smooth performance. One of the songs Leo always seems to enjoy playing is “Furuvudé,” composed by him and William Magalhães. The catchy theme invites the saxophonist to dig a bit deeper in inventiveness. Bassist Continentino is offered the solo spot, unfortunately accompanied by the hand clapping audience. Drummer Zanoni delivers a nice solo in which he accents the rhythm of the theme with his bass drum. Cartola is paid tribute to with a laid back version of “As Roses Não Falam.” “Lamentos” (Vinícius de Moraes and Pixinguinha) is treated with respect, in a nice jazzy way. The somewhat bombastic “Maracatu Atômico” shows the funkier side of the band. This Latin-funk approach makes it an even danceable highlight on the album. More like something to end the album with. But it isn’t, “Sem Comentários” (also from his most recent studio release Brazilian Soul) clears the way to the finishing touch: “Na Baixa do Sapateiro,” by Ary Barroso. In a jazzy upbeat way this legend of Brazilian music is honored. On tenor sax Leo Gandelman plays his most inspired solo here.
Of course the album is also available on DVD, which was the most important motivation to do a live album, I guess. The result is an entertaining fusion cd, with a few moments that highlight the quality of this no doubt extraordinary saxophonist. It would be a pleasure to hear him perform on the tenor sax in an old fashioned quartet (with acoustic piano, bass and drums)…
EMI 543196 2 (2002)
- Solar (William Magalhães – Leo Gandelman)
- Castelo de Areia (Leo Gandelman)
- A Rã (João Donato – Caetano Veloso)
- Dead Weight (Simpson – King – Beck Hansen)
- Morar Na Areia (Leo Gandelman)
- Furuvudé (William Magalhães – Leo Gandelman)
- As Rosas Não Falam (Cartola)
- Lamentos (Vinícius de Moraes – Pixinguinha)
- Maracatu Atômico (Jorge Mautner – Nelson Jacobina)
- Sem Comentários (Leo Gandelman – Bruno Cardozo)
- Na Baixa do Sapateiro (Ary Barroso)