1. Valley of the River
2. A Felicidade
3. Fresh Biscuits
4. Ano Novo (New Year)
5. Brazilian People
6. A Yankee in Brazil
7. Café com Pão
8. On Lia’s Island, In Rosa’s Boat
9. Double Rainbow
Phil DeGreg – Piano
Kim Pensyl – Trumpet, flugelhorn
Rusty Burge – Vibes
Aaron Jacobs – Bass
John Taylor – Drums, percussion
Bruno Mangueira – Guitar (tracks 4, 6)
Brasilia is an American group which differs from many other Latin-American bands in not using many percussion players. This is a potential weakness, as it
might fail to provide the necessary rhythmic drive essential for such an ensemble. Much of the rhythm is actually provided by the bassist Aaron Jacobs.
Nevertheless, there is a significant pulse in the band’s playing, created by a genuine enthusiasm for this kind of music, as well as by John Taylor’s
subtle percussion. That enthusiasm is shown by the inclusion of three numbers by Antonio Carlos Jobim, the doyen of Brazilian composers, plus others by
João Donato and Hermeto Pascoal.
In fact this band reminds me of Yellowjackets – another group that manages to convey the excitement of Latin-Americana without including loads of
percussion which, in other groups, can overwhelm the music. And it means that the element of jazz is given full weight, with memorable solos from the front
line. The beginning of Fresh Biscuits sounds rather like free improv, before going into a jazz-rock beat. And Jobim’s Double Rainbow is a
beguiling jazz waltz. This track and the final Triste were recorded before an audience, which makes for a livelier atmosphere.
Guitarist Bruno Mangueira adds variety to the sound on a couple of numbers and he contributes two brilliant solos. All the musicians are skilful, with the
trumpet blending mellifluously with the vibes, which sometimes has the tone of a marimba – perhaps created with special mallets.
This is a pleasant, unpretentious album, well worth obtaining.