Mike Marshall & Choro Famoso – Segunda Vez, Second Time [TrackList follows] – Adventure Music AM1090 2 [8/19/14] *****:
The Brandee Younger 4TET – Live at The Breeding Ground [TrackList follows] – self – [6/20/14] *****:
(Mike Marshall – mandolin; Andy Connell – clarinet & sax; Colin Walker – 7-string guitar; Brian Rice – pandeiro & percussion)
(Brandee Younger – concert harp; Dezron Douglas – bass; E.J. Strickland – drums; Chelsea Baratz – tenor sax; Stacy Dillard – soprano sax)
This is second album mandolin virtuoso Mike Marshall has done for his own label, Adventure Music, recorded in Berkeley CA. Choro music was developed in Rio around 1870, and at that time included European waltzes, polkas, schottisches and modinhas seen thru an Afro-Brazilian musical lens. It’s entirely different from bossa nova. It is still full of virtuoso melodies, rich harmonies and a variety of rhythmic structures, and has been updated in a number of ways. New young players play it at a high level, create new tunes, and carry it forward. This quartet is just one of the many groups who are expanding the appreciation of choro around the world.
Some of the earlier composers represented in the 17 tracks here are Ernesto Nazareth (whose piano pieces have had several recordings), Pixinguinha, Nelson Alves, Luiz Americano, Jacob do Bandolim, Waldir Azevedo, Heitor Avena de Castro, Orlando Silveira, Esmeraldinho Salles and K-Ximbinho. The more contemporary choro style is represented by Moacir Santos, Mauricio Carrilho, and Guinga. As with other Adventure albums, the note booklet is very informative. This quartet is obviously heavily into choros and its special folk depiction of the Brazilian soul. A delightful album!
TrackList:1. Bole Bole 2. Simplicidade 3. Alumiando 4. É do Que Há 5. Mistura e Manda 6. Sensível 7. Queira-Me Bem 8. Sete Estrelas 9. Murmurando 10. Uma Noite No Sumaré 11. Paraiso 12. Tenebroso 13. Evocação de Jacob 14. Flores 15. Cine Baronesa 16. Sonhando 17. Bola Preta
The concert harp may be accepted in the classical world, but it is certainly not a standard instrument in jazz. This CD from harpist Brandee Younger and her quintet is classified as rock but I find it closer to jazz fusion with an unusual solo instrument. The nine tracks include several of her original compositions but also three composed by two earlier female harpists in jazz: Dorothy Ashby and Alice Coltrane. In fact even the earlier albums with John Coltrane on which Alice was playing piano have many arpeggios that sound like a harp.
One of the two Dorothy Ashby tracks was my favorite on the disc – “Games.” There are also tunes by Stanley Cowell and Richard Evans. Having a front line of both soprano and tenor sax gives the quintet’s sound a special style, and the incorporation of the swinging harp adds to the most enjoyable feeling of all the tracks. This was a live recording when the quintet appeared with an audience at the Breeding Ground Recording Studio in Brooklyn, and the audience clearly loved them, but the applause is not distracting. The album may also be downloaded as a hi-res FLAC or other format at the Bandcamp site.
TrackList:1. Soul Vibrations 04:32 2. Wax and Wane 03:58 3. Essence of Ruby 04:55 4. Hortense 06:27 5. Respected Destroyer 04:45 6. Games 05:44 7. Blue Nile 13:09 8. Awareness (He Has A Name) 07:28 9. Effi 05:55 —John Sunier