In his third album for the Playscape label, pianist Alan Jaffe is inspired by his wide-ranging appreciation of Brazilian music. Consequently even those tunes without an obvious Latin stance contain elements of music from that country that may be unfamiliar to the uninitiated. In his sleeve-notes Jaffe is at pains to point out how these original compositions have connections to the rhythms of choro, samba, bossa-nova and baiao, not to mention a touch of partido alto.
There seems to have been a plethora of Latin-orientated albums in recent months, such that it can be difficult to differentiate between them. Thus it comes down to the strength of the melodies and arrangements and quality of musicianship to make an album stand out above average.
As one would expect, given the line-up, the musicianship is unimpeachable and the constructions are perfectly delivered, as are the solos. But what the whole lacks is a strength in the melodies, the lifeblood of Brazilian-styled music. To your reviewer’s ears the more successful tracks are those where the emphasis is on the jazz rather than Brazil. Nonetheless, this is a pleasant enough listen, neither likely to offend the listener nor stimulate.
Duende; Chorinhoso; 12 For Tom; Chorinho Pra Hermeto; Chorinho Pra Mulgrew; Olhos Fechados; A Coisa Com Penas; Cariocas; You Know That I’m Ready (59.05)
Collectively: Jaffe (p); Wallace Roney (t); John Clark (frh); Jimmy Greene, Jonathan Ragonese (ts, ss); Freddie Bryant (g); Kris Allen (as); Bruce Williamson (bcl, cl); Marty Jaffe, Avery Sharpe (b); Rogerio Boccato (d, pc); Martina DaSilva (v). New York, 25 July 2019.
Playscape PSR# 072519