So we spent several days in Washington DC this week. I am exploring a neighborhood I am not familiar with and I run across Carpe Librum. As soon as I figure out what the setup of the place is, I have to try to find something to buy. (Can’t find any older Jeff VanderMeer books, so the second choice is international CDs.)
About the last item I look at is this 2015 album by bassist Nilson Matta, East Side Rio Drive (Krian). I barely know Matta, but master percussionist/experimenter Cyro Baptista and solid sax/bass clarinet star Craig Handy (also one of the rare flute-blowers I love) are trademarks of quality and I see some good things on line (though not the review linked below) and for $3 what can be so bad. Later I got quite wound up after I discovered the liner notes were a rave by Will Friedwald that nailed the problem with too much recent Brazilian jazz: “”every album sounded like the one before, the same tropical groove, the same rhythmic patterns, the same lightweight feeling.” The latter phrase, in particular, struck me as right on target. Then he did a track-by-track that set me up to find out what a superb record it is. Certainly a Top 20 of the year if I had heard it then — if only because voices and flutes, hard-jazz saxes and bass flights and Brazilian and Cuban influences twist and twine around each other so attractive all the way through.