Jazz CD Reviews

Jon Gold – Brazil Confidential – Zoho Music

The music, while divergent and layered, expresses both intricacy and passion with a resolute vision.

Published on July 14, 2010

Jon Gold – Brazil Confidential – Zoho Music

Jon Gold – Brazil Confidential – Zoho Music ZM 201004, 60:04****½:

(Jon Gold – piano, keyboards; Harvie S, bass; Mauricio Zottarelli – drums; Jorge Continentino – woodwinds; Scott “Scottinho” Anderson – guitars; Ze Mauricio – percussion; Anat Cohen – woodwinds; Zach Brock – violin; Andrew Sterman – flute; Bryan Murray – woodwinds; Luiz Ribeiro – guitar; Tatiana Parra & Leah Siegel, vocals; Katie Scheele – English horn; Lauren Riley Rigby – cello.)

Jon Gold has evolved a very long way to arrive at his debut album. A California native, he began as a classical piano student, studying with Francisco de Hollas. In high school, he would become inspired by Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter, as he continued the transition to jazz. He would study, with Joe Henderson, as a teenager, and work on a public television program with Dizzy Gillespie.

After receiving a P.H.D. in Chemistry from UC Santa Cruz, he was introduced to the music of Sergio Mendes, and there would be no turning back. Gold would move to Brazil, teach chemistry at Pontifica Universidade Catolica in Rio de Janeiro, and plunge himself into the local jazz scene. The influence of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Hermeto Pascoal would permeate his assimilation of the genre that has shaped his self-awareness as a musician and scholar.

Brazil Confidential is an ambitious project, revealing a blend of jazz and South American cultures. The twelve songs are a complex expression of rhythm and spirituality, with a top-notch roster of American and Brazilian players. The CD kicks off with a moody piece,” Alem Do Azul”, that starts out with piano and percussion, only to introduce haunting flute (Jorge Continentino) and violin (Zach Brock) solos with tempo changes. On “Rapadura”, a suite composition, there is a precision and symmetry to the instrumentals, highlighted by Gold’s soulful piano. Earlier jazz influence come to life on, “Funky Jabour”, with, an energetic solo by Anat Cohen. Harvie S (bass), Ze Maurice (percussion), and Mauricio Zottarelli (drums) are diverse as a rhythm section and anchor the aesthetics of the melodic instrumentation.

Vocals contribute greatly to the tone of the music. Tatiana Parra delivers a wistful ballad, “Confissao”, in Portugese, accompanied by Scott “Scottinho” Anderson on guitar, and Gold’s understated piano. Leah Siegel who does backup vocals on the track, takes on the lead for “Paraty”, with a sensuous, wordless singing style.
There is a subtlety to the arrangements, whether it’s a English Horn addition (“Singela”), or a cello line (“Parazen”). The music, while divergent and layered, expresses both intricacy and passion with a resolute vision.

Alem Do Azul; Funky Jabour; teresinha; Carioca Da Clara; Confissao; Singela; Vitamin B; Paraty; Parafuso A Menos; Janacek Suite No. 4; Rapadura; Parazen.

— Robbie Gerson

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