Swinging Brazilian-based works are on the original order of the day here. Solid work that highlights the musical trail from New York to the tropics, the gang really tears it up here on a smoking set that gets any party started in fine style. With a real feel for the mode at hand, Marlow and the gang are in touch with their inner tropicalistas and make you believe. Well done.
“Obrigado Brasil!”—a nine track album of original sambas and bossa novas by award-winning Heritage Ensemble leader/pianist/composer Eugene Marlow—celebrates and pays homage to Brazilian musical culture that gave birth to the driving rhythms of the samba and the romantic feel of the bossa nova.
The album’s release follows the conclusion of the Summer 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and the anniversary of Brazil’s independence from Portugal on September 7, 1822.
This album introduces young virtuoso pianist ArcoIris Sandoval who performs on “Arco’s Arc (which she co-wrote with composer Eugene Marlow). She also performs on “Novo Bossa” (on the Rhodes keyboard), “Flight II” and “Longing.”
Mixing things up is a hybrid piece: “Enigma” which begins and ends in a classical vein with Virginia Chang Chien performing two coincident oboe lines. The bulk of the track is an improvisation on the chords by saxophonist Michael Hashim in a bossa nova style.
The album’s final track—“Carnaval a Sanabria”—is a multi-layer drum and percussion celebration of the samba improvised by multi-Grammy nominee Heritage Ensemble drummer Bobby Sanabria.
“Obrigado Brasil” is an album with a long pedigree. According to Marlow, “My journey with Latin-jazz begins in England (where I was born) with my listening to the Edmundo Ros Sextet perform—probably on early British television. As a member of the Hunter College Choir (tenor) I was influenced by choir director Ralph Hunter, former Harry Belafonte music director. When we performed Hunter’s Belafonte calypso arrangements I played the bongos. While in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam era off-duty I formed a trio with Chicano-born drummer Rudy Merino who played bossa novas with brushes as if the rhythms were in his DNA, and virtuoso bass player Sonny Jay who had performed and recorded with Louis Jordan of “Caldonia” famous. This was also the era of the bossa nova made popular by guitarist/composer Antonio Carlos Jobim and “The Girl from Ipanema.” There were many bossa novas in our repertoire.
Album Performers: Eugene Marlow, leader/piano; Bobby Sanabria, 7X Grammy-nominee drums/percussion/vocals; Michael Hashim, saxophones; Frank Wagner, bass; ArcoIris Sandoval, guest pianist; Virginia Chang Chien guest oboist.