Mark Weinstein’s love affair with Brazilian music is not new. Back in 1998, in his Jazz World Trios CD he had already included Brazilian music in his repertoire. He also had special guests such as Romero Lubambo and Cyro Baptista. Deepening that relationship, in 2003 he released the wonderful Tudo de Bom, featuring thirteen tracks all written by Hermeto Pascoal from his superb “Calendário do Som” project. In that album, the band working with Weinstein was comprised of Richard Boukas (guitar, vocals), Nilson Matta (bass), Paulo Braga (drums) and Vanderlei Pereira (percussion). There is not much to say about Tudo de Bom without using superlatives. The music is excellent, and all performers shine brilliantly.
Three years later, Weinstein comes back to more Brazilian music in his latest CD O Nosso Amor. This time, the repertoire is clearly diverse and covers original pieces Weinstein wrote as well as Brazilian gems by Tom Jobim, Ary Barroso, João Donato, Pixinguinha and others. The band accompanying Weinstein this time is Paulo Braga (drums), Guilherme Franco (percussion), Jorge Silva (percussion) and two thirds of Trio da Paz with Romero Lubambo (classical guitar) and Nilson Matta (bass) — that alone is the icing on the cake. Besides the music and performers, the arrangements featured in O Nosso Amor deserve special recognition. Weinstein knows just the right blend when he uses his bass, alto and soprano flutes. It’s like having three excellent musicians featured in one album. Ary Barroso’s classic opener “Bahia” starts off the selections in O Nosso Amor. With Lubambo’s classy guitar introduction enriched by shakers and whistles, Weinstein lets loose to a good start. This nice piece gets the band warmed up for what is coming up. When Matta opens Donato’s well known “Lugar Comum,” a soft swinging mood takes over the previous samba beat from the opener. Matta still comes back from for a rich bass solo in the middle of the track. This guy has the touch, no doubt, and to prove his bass can almost speak, Matta’s own “Sampa 67” spices things up. The same goes to Lubambo’s energized “Frevo Camarada,” which is everything its name says: a high-energy frevo. Jobim is present in three instances: “Falando de Amor” is performed in choro style, with flute, pandeiro and guitar dominating the track, but yet allowing Matta’s bass solo a featured spot in the arrangement; the title track gets a more direct samba approach; and finally, “Por Causa de Você” shows the romantic side of Jobim. Weinstein’s original pieces in the album prove just how much Brazilian blood are running in his veins. “Batucada” is a percussion festival inspiring listeners to get down and samba as if in Rio during Carnaval. “Marka Som” is more cadenced and peaceful. Two of the most beautiful moments in the album are from the Pixinguinha repertoire. While “Um a Zero” is jovial and playful, “Naquele Tempo” is pure ecstasy with the richest bass flute sound you’ll ever hear. In closing the album, Franco’s original “Capoeira” brings back all musicians to one last chance to showcase their talents in a delicious baião. It’s a perfect closing.
O Nosso Amor is a nice production with a good blend of Brazilian classics and original compositions. My one gripe about the album is the liner notes. Whoever had the idea to adulterate Daniella Thompson’s expertly written album introduction should pay for this gross oversight. Even if space was limited, a better decision would have been to simply cut the notes short instead or revising the text with additional and inaccurate information, which was not even written by Thompson. So, do yourself a favor when you buy the CD. Get the complete and accurate notes from Daniella Thompson’s site. You can also read more about the artist and album at his own home page.
O Nosso Amor
Jazzheads JH 1151 (2006)
- Bahia (Ary Barroso)
- Lugar Comum (João Donato – Gilberto Gil)
- Sampa 67 (Nilson Matta)
- Falando de Amor (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
- Frevo Camarada (Romero Lubambo)
- O Nosso Amor (Antonio Carlos Jobim – Vinícius de Moraes)
- Batucada (Mark Weinstein)
- Naquele Tempo (Pixinguinha)
- Marka Som (Mark Weinstein)
- Um a Zero (Pixinguinha)
- Por Causa de Você (Antonio Carlos Jobim – Dolores Duran)
- Capoeira (Guilherme Franco)