Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help

Kenny Barron: Brazilian Knights

SOURCE:

Sign in to view read count Views
Kenny Barron
Pianist Kenny Barron's first bossa nova album—West Side Story Bossa Nova—was recorded in March 1963. The session was led by Barron's older brother Bill, a gifted arranger and saxophonist. Kenny Barron played on three tracks—Jet Song, Something's Coming and Maria. The other tracks were handled by pianist Steve Kuhn, along with Willie Thomas (tp) Kenny Burrell (g) Henry Grimes (b) Charlie Persip (d) and Jose Soares (perc).

Fifty years later, Kenny Barron has released another—Kenny Barron & The Brazilian Knights (Sunnyside)—and it's beautiful. The album has all the lyricism and tenderness you'd expect from a pianist of Barron's taste and technique. Recorded in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012, the sidemen include Claudio Roditi  (trumpet and flugelhorn), Idriss Boudrioua (alto sax), Mauricio Einhorn (harmonica), Alberto Chimelli (keyboards), Lula Galvao (guitar), Sergio Barrozo (bass) and Rafael Barata (drums).

In many ways, this is a tribute album honoring the music of bossa nova composers Johnny Alf (who died in 2010) and Mauricio Einhorn [pictured], who plays here. Other song choices include Antonio Carlos Jobim's Triste, Baden Powell's So Por Amor and Alberto Chimelli's Chorinho Carioca. Barron's own Sonia Braga is here, too.

On this album, we get to hear Barron's magnificent chord voicings in a swaying Brazilian setting. Since the bossa's lineage can be traced back in part to jazz, Barron's sound and phrasing fit in neatly. If you're unfamiliar with Einhorn's bossa harmonica, you're in for a treat. He manipulates the instrument to sound more like a reed instrument than accordion sidekick, which is a relief. And Claudio Roditi is sublime on both trumpet and flugelhorn.

What makes this album special is how delicate the group plays together. Songs surge without overloading, and melodies rule. And by recording in Rio, Barron is supported by an authentic bossa sound and feel. For me, a perfect bossa nova is like a glorious sundae. There's sweet texture without sugary thickness, a festive spirit without percussionists hijacking the feel, and an explosion of joy without melodies sliding into gooey nostalgia.

Once again, Barron's taste triumphs—this time with the breezy skills of Brazilian peers. What you get are surf-and-sand bossas that deftly avoid tilting commercial or folk. Barron's brother Bill, who died in 1989, would be proud.

JazzWax tracks: You'll find Kenny Barron & The Brazilian Knights (Sunnyside) here.

Continue Reading...

This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
Copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.

Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Profiles
Read more articles
Art of Conversation
Art of Conversation
Impulse!
2014
buy
Kenny Barron & The Brazilian Knights
Kenny Barron & The...
Sunnyside Records
2013
buy
The Traveler
The Traveler
Sunnyside Records
2008
buy
Images
Images
Sunnyside Records
2005
buy
The Perfect Set: Live at Bradley's II
The Perfect Set: Live...
Sunnyside Records
2005
buy
Live at Bradley's
Live at Bradley's
Sunnyside Records
2004
buy
Bill Evans Bill Evans
piano
Hank Jones Hank Jones
piano
Cedar Walton Cedar Walton
piano
Chick Corea Chick Corea
piano
Stan Getz Stan Getz
sax, tenor
McCoy Tyner McCoy Tyner
piano
Red Garland Red Garland
piano
Bud Powell Bud Powell
piano
Wynton Kelly Wynton Kelly
piano

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.