How to Play Jazz
When you see a Brazilian album which has the name TOM on it, you can almost be certain it refers to Tom Jobim. This cd is no exception. Five of his compositions are represented here. The Pascoal Meirelles Trio pays tribute to the generation that created Samba-Jazz. And they do that in the most perfect way. This is among the best jazz cd’s I heard in recent years. It’s amazing what these three gentlemen have recorded. The musicianship is nothing less than outstanding.
Pascoal Meirelles (1944, Belo Horizonte) is the drummer most of us link to the jazz quartet Cama de Gato. Influenced by such great drummers as Art Blakey, Bill Bruford and Edson Machado, Pascoal Meirelles was the first Brazilian drummer to study at the renowned Berklee. His recording credits are to be found on albums by Tom Jobim (Terra Brasilis), Ivan Lins, Elis Regina, Claudio Roditi, Ney Matogrosso and many others. The trio he compiled here is superb. Nelson Faria (1963, Belo Horizonte) on guitar is of course a master of the art. His versatile talent has strong roots in the jazz, and here he shows that in an impressive way. Bassist is Alberto Continentino (1978, Rio de Janeiro), who has worked with the Cássia Eller, Milton Nascimento, Leo Gandelman (his uncle) and replaced Arthur Maia at Cama de Gato during the late 90’s.
The album opens with the very strong Nelson Faria composition “Partindo pro Alto.” It’s a good way to start the cd with. The trio utilizes the opportunity to make clear that this is a high level jazz cd. The interesting rhythm pattern is perfect for all three musicians to shine on their specialties. Meirelles’s state of the art drumming, Faria soloing in his own creative way and perfect bass lines by Continentino. The solo’s are no-nonsense, straight ahead. It seems hard to maintain the high level, but they manage to do so. Meirelles “Tom” is composed with the great Jobim in mind. A mellow bossa that opens with a bass solo and playful improvising by Faria. The drumming is very consistent with a repetitive structure. “So Danço Samba” has the drummer handling the brushes, accentuating the samba beat.
Each track on this cd is a lesson in how to play jazz. Although this is a trio formed by a drummer, the drums don’t dominate the album. It’s well balanced. The drum solo’s are not a “tour de force” but subtle and tasteful. Like the delicate drum solo on “Triste,” using a technique that’s hard to match, it has an air of the late Billy Higgins over it. The track flows over in a beautiful rendition of “Manhã de Carnaval.” Kiko Continentino joins the trio on “Brigas Nunca Mais.” Alberto’s piano playing brother plays in the nice Jobim tradition, adding to the dedication of this album. As an extra, the album closes with a drum solo, recorded live at Rio’s elegant SESC theatre. Although any doubts about the drummer seem impossible after the ten preceding tracks, this four minute solo will convince even the most stubborn listener.
Tom is a wonderful album that confirms that Samba-Jazz compositions deserve a place among the great jazz standards.
Pascoal Meirelles Trio
Perfil Musical 75037 (2003)
Total Time: 57’31”
- Partindo Pro Alto (Nelson Faria)
- Tom (Pascoal Meirelles)
- Só Danço Samba (Tom Jobim – Vinícius de Moraes)
- Triste (Tom Jobim)
- Manhã de Carnaval (Luiz Bonfa – Antônio Maria)
- Ponteio (Edu Lôbo – Capinam)
- Bonita (Tom Jobim)
- Chovendo na Roseira (Tom Jobim)
- Estamos Aí (Maurício Einhorn – Durval Ferreira – Regina Werneck)
- Brigas Nunca Mais (Tom Jobim – Vinícius de Moraes)
- B. P. C. (Pascoal Meirelles)