Lynwood Slim And The Igor Prado Band – Brazilian Kicks – Delta Groove Music DGPCD141, 53:27 *****:
(Lynwood Slim – vocals, harmonica, flute; Yuri Prado – drums; Igor Prado – guitar, vocals; Rodrigo Mantovani – bass; Donny Nichilo – piano; Denilson Matinez – alto saxophone; tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone)
When Igor Prado contacted Lynnwood Slim, inviting him to Brazil to help produce some tracks, it was an intriguing idea. Slim had been a staple on the Los Angeles blues scene for quite some time. He was an avid fan of harmonica greats Little Walter, Jimmy Reed and Big Walter Horton. After hearing James Moody and Herbie Mann, he took up the flute to diversify his sound. He brings a texture and determination to his blues interpretation. Possessing a strong, clear voice, he is able to articulate a variety of idiomatic expression, consistently in great demand as a session player, arranger, producer and songwriter.
Upon his arrival in Brazil, he was swept away by the talent of Igor Prado and his band. Despite being in their early twenties, they were seasoned musicians, capable of great technical craftsmanship. The band had already been established as the vanguard of Brazilian blues music. As the story goes, Prado asked Slim to sing on the album. When questioned on which numbers to sing on, Prado replied, “we want you to sing on ‘em all”. Thus, a blues outfit took shape.
Brazilian Kicks, released on respected indie label, Delta Groove, is thirteen tracks of uplifting, vibrant music. The opening track, “Shake It Baby”, takes the Buddy Guy composition to a Memphis Stax crescendo with Slim’s howling, soulful vocals and a baritone/tenor sax chorus. A nice touch is added at the end with a tasteful flute line by Slim. The band soars through an assortment of styles. On “Is It True”, a traditional performance is augmented by a blistering guitar solo by Igor Prado and barrelhouse piano runs by Donny Nichilo. Lynnwood Slim is the embodiment of jump music on the comical “Bloodshot Eyes” with his jazzy vocals. Denlison Martins turns in a rollicking tenor sax solo. The band is tightly wound, and creates the appropriate tempo for each song. “Little Girl”, a popular favorite of legendary blues man, Little Walter, has a languid Delta sensibility with exemplary harmonica play and laid back guitar hooks.
The variety of stylistic coloration propels the unyielding momentum. “The Way You Do” synthesizes a late night samba motif into a modern format, not unlike Los Lobos. A jazzy arrangement of the ballad, “Maybe Someday”, shines with “after hours” nuance. Prado’s wistful guitar is in perfect complement to the classic, jazzy vocals, and subtle, piano riffs. “Blues Bop” is luminous, a hard edged, furious, up tempo swing opus, coalesced by Yuri Prado’s relentless drumming. Within a thematic context, the ensemble can transform itself into inspired enticing incarnations. The sarcastic playfulness of Mose Allison is channeled through “My Hat’s On The Side Of My Head”, with clever tempo and intonation. Big band muscle shines on “Bill’s Change”, cultivated by amplified horn charts.
Brazilian Kicks never lets up, and never lets the listener down.
TrackList: Shake It Baby; Is It True; Bloodshot Eyes; My Hat’s On The Side Of My Head; Blue Bop; Little Girl; I Sat And Cried; Maybe Someday; Show Me The Way; Bill’s Change; The Comeback; The Way You Do; Going To Mona Lisa’s
— Robbie Gerson