Kind of Blue
Delicado indeed. The new album from the Brazilian quartet that creatively calls itself the Brazilian Quartet is a delicate, dreamy affair. The music floats along sublimely and sweetly. It’s a bit like cotton candy: It takes good but isn’t very filling.
If you consider that sort of thing to be trouble, then that’s the trouble with this disc. It’s so pleasant and free of risk-taking that it lacks tension. But sometimes that’s not so problematic, and this is one of those sometimes. Only one of the nine tunes exceeds seven minutes (and that one is more like a three-part suite), so it’s not as though the musicians run on at length about nothing. True, there’s not a lot of stretching here—pianist Cristovao Bastos (who wrote five of the tunes), bassist Bororo and drummer Jurim Moreira lay down a nice set of modern Brazilian rhythms, and percussionist Marcalzinho accentuates the positive with his collection of shells. Saxophonist Ze Canuto does create an impression with his soft but assertive soprano, at times blowing circular patterns that for some reason conjure images of birds soaring high. Bastos’ compositions themselves are relaxing and joyous but not exactly memorable.
So this album has me a bit conflicted. I want to take Quarteto Brasil to task for playing it safe, for recording an album that would fit perfectly on the racks at Pottery Barn. But I can’t. It’s just too damn enjoyable.