Off & On, The Music of Moacir Santos

Off & On, The Music of Moacir Santos

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by Mark Levine
     
 

Mark Levine's prowess at playing southern hemisphere-flavored jazz has been well established for several decades prior to forming his Latin Tinge ensemble, going back to his time with Brazilian-born composer Moacir Santos. He revisits the music of his former employer on this set of originals that does not necessarily adhere to samba andSee more details below

Overview

Mark Levine's prowess at playing southern hemisphere-flavored jazz has been well established for several decades prior to forming his Latin Tinge ensemble, going back to his time with Brazilian-born composer Moacir Santos. He revisits the music of his former employer on this set of originals that does not necessarily adhere to samba and bossa nova styles. In fact, Levine and his energetic band of West Coast musicians are more than capable of adding their own personal voicings to a music that is often all too predictable. Mary Fettig's flute work is alluring on its own, but here she really places a personal stamp on the sounds with vibrant and credible performances. Levine himself sticks to the acoustic piano for this date, avoiding the tempting pyrotechnical clichés a Chick Corea might bring to the table, fortifying the music with tasteful and discreet chords or single lines. It's the rhythm section of percussionist Michael Spiro, bassist John Wiitala, and drummer Paul Van Wageningen that adds the spice and drive to this diverse set of delightful music. The three are also responsible for making the music interesting rhythmically, mixing up the funk in various meters during the vibrant title track, hopping up a 5/4 montuno on the penultimate Latin jazz line of "Kathy," and burning up the 4/4 clave beat of the Afro-Cuban tune "Haply Happy." Fettig's commanding but never overbearing flute is front and center for the hip and joyous cha cha "Nana," the singsongy "A Saudade Mata a Gente" digs into the funky Brazilian jazz of "April Child," and lays back on the sonata-styled pop tune "Jequie." The cohesion of this group is immediately noticeable even though Fettig will receive most of the attention. She also plays a little soprano sax or bass clarinet just to add other bright or stealth colors, respectively. It's a credit to Levine that the consistency of this music is more important than flourishing solo space or a power-laden, image-driven commercialism. Off & On comes easily recommended to those who enjoy the authenticity of tropical based music, removed from the tiring, synthesized, and overproduced work of much less-talented performers in this genre.

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Product Details

Release Date:
09/15/2009
Label:
Left Coast Clave
UPC:
0884501162258
catalogNumber:
4
Rank:
299547

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