Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Leo Gandleman: Black Pearls

Following up his engaging release Made in Rio, Brazilian-born saxophonist Leo Gandleman takes on the work of an impressive range of Afro-Brazilian composers on Black Pearls (Mercury/PolyGram 314 531 609-2; 52:59). He adds contemporary touches to the work of Gilberto Gil (a swinging, celebratory “Toda Menina Baiana,” with stomping funky drums) and Moacyr Santos & Mario Telles (the bossa nova-era classic, “Nana,” given an urban twist of guitar accents), and uncovers Brazilian traditional elements in the work of contemporary pop composer Stevie Wonder, taking a lovely bossa nova approach to “Overjoyed” which works in strings and singing bass. Gandleman’s “Mr. Funk Samba” is a classic-meets-modern party of horns and Latin percussion with a funk bass rattle, but his best work is reserved for a nostalgically hip read of Luis Melodia’s “Perola Negra” (Black Pearl), an all-horn, all-Gandleman arrangement which is absolutely breathtaking. Gandleman handily bridges the gap between traditional and modern Brazil-beat on this intriguing effort.

Originally Published