Bill Beach – Búzios – Axial Records

by | Jul 17, 2011 | Jazz CD Reviews | 0 comments

Bill Beach – Búzios – Axial Records – AXIAL 4003, 49:33 *****:

(Bill Beach – piano and vocals; Rebecca Kilgore – vocal (track 2); Dave Captein – bass; drums/percussion; Charlie Doggett – track 2, 5, 6; Reinhardt Melz – track 1, 3, 8; Gary Hobbs – track 7, 10, 11: Ron Steen – track 4, 9, 12)

Bill Beach is a Portland, Oregon-based musician as well as the other listed musicians accompanying him on his album.  Bill Beach began playing piano at the age of seven.  His early influences were Dave Brubeck and Bill Evans in jazz.  This also included Antonio Carlos Jobim and Sergio Mendez.  Earlier this decade Bill started studying bossa nova and learning of the styles of João Gilberto, Vinicius De Moraes, Carlos Lyra and João Donato and the later MPB styles of Milton Nasciemento and others.  During Bill’s jazz career in his early 20s he played with Mark Murphy, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Eddie Harris, Nat Adderley, Jimmy Cobb and Charlie Rouse.  Beach has played in clubs in Amsterdam, Japan, and various European ports.  He started writing Brazilian-style music and lyrics in Portuguese in 2007. He has now released three albums devoted to bossa nova standards and instrumentals he has composed.  In order, they are Letting Go, Brasil Beat, and this newest release Búzios.  Bill Beach plays at various venues in Portland, Oregon (www.billbeach.com).

Búzios is a coastal area located in Brazil 150 miles NE of Rio de Janeiro.  It came to fame many years ago when visited by Brigitte Bardot and her lover mid-last century when it was a fishing village.  It became a vacation resort of much popularity with its quaint scene and beautiful beaches, and was visited by Bill Beach and his time there apparently became an inspiration for his music and this album.

Búzios contains original compositions and lyrics by Beach in the Brazilian form of Latin bossa nova – sambas and rhythms characteristic of the mid-century music brought to the United States last century.  There is a certain wonderful appeal of this style of music that attracts me with the lyrics of the Portuguese dialect sound on vocals that is exotic and delightful to hear.  It refreshes and soothes the soul.  Beach has captured this in his compositions and especially his vocal and piano playing.

“Búzios” starts the album and paints a tonal kaleidoscope of the scene of this exotic place.  I hear the slow intro like a brief view of the beach with soft waves moving and breaking on the shore and suddenly you are in the midst of a bustling resort area with that feel of excitement.  A great start to the album.

Next my favorite tune, “Tudo É Relativo (Everything is Relative).  It opens with Bill’s piano intro.  In comes Becky Kilgore with her soft beautiful voice singing in Portuguese soon to be joined in duet by Bill.  It is that adorable duet by soft male and female voicing so characteristic of the Brazilian music.

The album is a confection of the different bossa and samba rhythm beats and sounds.  It is like stepping into an exotic small club atmosphere taking you to Brazil.  Bill’s playing is solid with a soft touch on the piano at times yet strength appears in the faster exciting songs.  His left hand chording while his right hand plays melody lines very much compliment and showcase his abilities.  The changes from tune to tune are skillfully arranged and vary to keep it interesting.

A word about the rest of the musicians.  Bill has selected the best I have heard in the Portland area.  Dave Captein keeps great time and has great soloing technique.  The drummers Bill selected are highly skilled and lend what is so much apart of this style of music.

Búzios is high class to say the least and a joy to hear.  Bill has included the lyrics of the vocals in Portuguese and English in his liner notes.  I would have liked to have seen some of his thoughts put in about this production but I am sure you will think he has spoken volumes in his playing and singing.  The sound recording is excellent.

TrackList:
  Búzios; Tudo É Relativo (Everything is Relative); Nada De Lágrimas / Namida No Hate Ni (No Tears); Pete’s Piece; Pesadelos (Nightmares); Trem Para O Corcovado (Train to Corcovado); A Casa Da Ana (Ana’s House); Antes Da Separacão (Before Parting); Song for Ron; Neste Momento (In this Moment); Metade De Um Coração (Half a Heart); Bobo (The Fool)

— Tim Taylor

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