Dizzy Gillespie experimented with Cuban music in the late 50's and Charlie Byrd arranged
and played 'Jazz Samba' with Stan Getz in the early 60's Latin and Bossa Nova music has
proved to be both popular and durable. It does what all good music should do - it
communicates - even 'non-jazz fans' see the attraction. (I should know - in my youth I was
playing guitar in a rock 'n roll band and 'Jazz Samba' was my first jazz record).
Club Brazil (produced by Mitch Mitchell) deserves to be 'mentioned in dispatches' for
continuing this great tradition.
Unusually the band is from here in the UK but, as all musicians know, it doesn't matter
where you are from - its what comes out of the speakers that counts and this sounds great.
The album opens with Tania Maria's 'Come With
Me' . John Crawford lays down his Grusin like 'rhythm-piano' grooves as early as the
introduction and he's closely followed by vocalist Heidi Leonore's laid back, marvellously
tuneful vocals. Add in a fine sax solo by Finn Peters (good to hear that he's not afraid
to take a chance or two) and you've got a real groove of an opening track. The 'outro' has
a particularly good feel with sax and vocals swapping good taste over a tight and
'familiar with each other' sounding rhythm section.
two is 'Sun Song 70', this time effortlessly sung by album co-producer Lisa Brown. Its a
loping piece with that 'Brazilian Sway' to it with bassist Andres La Fone, drummer Tristan
Banks and percussionist Oli Albergaria Savill leading the line. The piano solo by John
Crawford deserves special mention. He's obviously got a great technique (we wont hold that
against him) but, wisely, he's forgotten about it - he's taken a leaf from Chris Tarrents
book by saying 'we don't want to give you that'. His solo floats along beautifully with
all the right notes in the right order - it's tasteful, uncluttered and musical - not
always easy when you remember pianist's can play ten notes at once -and often do.
Forte' is an up-tempo, swinging, mainly ensemble piece that is voiced by Guida De Palma in
traditional manner. There are lots of ba-ba-dat-dat-da's with some fine flute
(thoughtfully played by Finn Peters) in unison and solo mode. It all bounces along like a
kangaroo on a pogo stick - and it doesn't get much bouncier than that.
de Ogum' is an infectious up-tempo piece that makes toes tap and feet want to dance. It
features more great flute work by Finn Peters, at on stage swapping riffs with Crawford on
'steam-piano', and some nifty stop / start ensemble playing.
five is Heidi's 'Soul Of Mine'. As before its impeccably sung with some nice tracked riffs
and a short solo from Finn, this time on saxophone. Crawfords piano dominates the rhythm
with bass, percussion and drums interacting beautifully-proving that familiarity breeds
content. (and good grooves)
Your Love' is a slower, more introspective piece. It sets co-composer Victoria Beebee's
mournful vocals against Guillermo Hill's tasteful guitar with only a one-fingered
piano-line for company. This is all about feel and simplicity - for me its one of the high
points of the album.
is sung by Cida De Assis (having this many great singers working on one project is
downright greedy) It's a pacey little thing that drives along with bottoms up, and the top
down. The sun shines, as do Cida's vocals. The boss's piano solo is busier this time but,
as the old saying goes, if you've got it - flaunt it'. There's a tasty solo by Finn and
some good flute and vocal unison work before the outro, which sees Finn swapping fours
with himself. (Is that legal?)
original arrangement of 'Aint No Sunshine' has become a part of the song and it's a brave
arranger that takes on something so familiar. Dave Grusin did it (and made it work) with
'West Side Story' and Crawfords done it here. Heidi's vocals, Johns arrangement and piano
riffs plus Finns sax all add up to a memorable cover version of everybody's favourite
to the information I was given there is one more track on the CD - 'The Real Thing'. My
pre-production copy only went up to eight but no matter, I'm suitably impressed.
Brasil are founded and co-produced by Mitch Mitchell and I congratulate him. I suspect
that this project is firstly a labour of love and the time put in does not equal the money
..but some things just have to be done.
Finding a Musical Director as talented as John Crawford (one of the finest pianists ever
to set foot on a piano) is, however, a huge plus, and it also helps that the recording is
top notch. Both Subterfuge & Sweet Georgia Brown studio's (London) have done a great
job and recording engineer Robin Hughs needs to be bought a large drink.
reason that this all works so well is that all the musicians involved are playing and
singing for each other - no stars but they all shine. Drummer Tristan Banks, Andres La
Fone on bass and percussionist Oli Abergaria Savill are the powerhouse of the project.
They are all excellent players, sympathetic to each other and with an understanding of the
music and its nuances.
They really are a 'rhythm section' and show
the great results you can get when you keep it simple and good time is had by all. Add in
Finn Peters sax and flute with guitarists Bernardo Savill and Guillermo Hill plus a bunch
of wonderful vocalists and you have a heady concoction.
If 'Sangue Latin 3' is not officially designated the record of the summer there is no
justice. I wonder what they will make of this in Brasil?
Mel Dean - EuroClubdeJazz.com
Once again the guys from Club Brasil have
produced an album which is just ideal for summer. 'Sangue Latino 3' is one of a number of
albums which the project are releasing during the summer months of 2004 thanks to producer
and project manager Mitch Mitchell who has just returned from Rio where he recorded 20
tracks for their new album featuring a plethora of local artists including ace producer
and keyboardist Tomas Improta.
The new set features the core band and vocalists which were prominent in the first two
albums in this Latin triology includng John Crawford on keys, Tristan Banks on drums,
Andres La Fone on bass, Oli Albergaria Savill on percussion, Finn Peters on flute and sax
with Bernardo Savill and Guillermo Hill on guitars.
Featured vocalists on 'Sangue Latino 3' are Heidi Leonore, Lisa Brown, Guida de Palma,
Victoria BeeBee, Victoria Newton and Cida de Assis. Lisa Brown also co-produced the album
with Mitch Mitchell.
It is a combination of exotic arrangements, marvellous playing and warm sensuous vocals
which encapsulates the sense of discovery which the band portrays on all of their
The set opens up with a new arrangement of the eighties Tania Maria classic 'Come With Me'
which I found not only refreshing but even better than the original with Finn Peters sax
solo providing an outlet for different thoughts and moods whilst Heidi Leonore's vocal
highlights an eloquent testimony to the richness of bossa nova and it's subtle nuances.
Brown is centre stage on the lovely 'Sun Song 70' which could have been taken straight out
of the Creed Taylor recordings for CTI in the seventies with that Deodato 'Love Island'
electric piano sound played by John Crawford. This is just a perfect sound for those long
lazy, hazy days of summer, soft sultry vocals augmented by the free flowing
The Latino rhythm is best highlighted on the album by Guida de Palma's vocal on 'Casa
Forte' which is an uptempo scat similar in style to that great George Duke track
'Brazilian Sugar' from his 'A Brazilian Love Affair' CD for Sony Jazz from the early
eighties. Finn Peters flute sears through the pulsating rhythm section with John
Crawford's electric piano vamping chords and contrapuntal harmonies making this a track
which is made for dancing and a sure fire hit in the clubs.
Peters takes centre stage on flute with another fast moving piece entitled 'Aldeia De
Ogum', this is typical Brazilian Carnaval MPB and reminds me of Dave Valentine's work
during the eighties, John Crawford offers a panoply of articulations on keys whilst the
tight rhythm section binds this structured and amazingly authentic composition through its
paces. This track also reminds me of another Latin band from London called Paz featuring
Dick Crouch who had a crossover hit with 'AC/DC' in the early eighties.
The project move from a Brazilian theme to a Cuban one for the next track 'Soul Of Mine'
which has all the charm and flow of a Miami Sound Machine from the 70's featuring that
young starlet, Gloria Estefan. This time Heidi Leonore is featured as a vocalist on this
Pancho Sanchez styled uptempo gem sung in English which once again is a potential
dancefloor filler with a cavalcade of percussion raining down on the melody.
Victoria BeeBee is brought to front and cente to sing the beautiful 'I Need Your Love', a
poignant ballad performed alongside a Ricardo Silvieri guitar type performance by
Guillermo Hill. She sounds like Jean Felix or Marisa Monte on this infectious melody.
The band return to party mode on 'Feminina' another uptempo Carnaval MPB sound with Finn
Peter's flute offering a creative tapestry behind Cida de Assis Portugese vocals. I am
always amazed at keyboardist John Crawford's dexterity and his obvious penchant for
performing the music from Latin and South America, he is a musician right up there with
Eumir Deodato and George Duke.
The band cover a new arrangement of Bill Wither's 'Ain't No Sunshine' with an almost
calypso version sung once again by the talented Heidi Leonore with Crawford vamping
against the driving percussion. Finn Peters changes to tenor sax to add a Grover
Washington Jr. flavour to the bridge.
Newton's vocal of Deodato's 'The Real Thing' finishes off another wonderful collection of
tracks for the summer of 2004 and once more the project have created a collection of
tracks which are just ideal for summer on the beach or driving on a warm, sunshiny day
with the roof off and the volume up.
Mitch Mitchell has pioneered another piece of heaven with these Latin flavours. It is
remarkable that it was born in London and not on the beaches of the Zona Sol in Rio de
Janeiro. Essential listening for all Brazilian nuts like me.
Wes Gillespie - EuroClubdeJazz.com