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

Various Artists: Brazilian Nights

Leave it to master arranger Jason Miles to successfully balance the organics of Brazilian musical traditions with layers of industrial rhythmic effects and lush keyboard arrangements. An acute attention to detail, contrast and blend makes Rio Wave (Q/Atlantic), performed by Brazilian Nights, featuring Romero Lubambo, much more than your typical pseudomodernist pastiche. It also helps that at the heart of this Wave is world-class talent: the dizzying, fluid guitar work of Lubambo and the vocals of former Brasilia frontwoman Pamela Driggs, are encircled by such unusual atmospheres as an ambient, mechanics-enhanced bossa nova on “Triste.” “Salt Song” soups up Nascimento with Hammond B-3, muscular tenor sax and bubbling percussion effects, allowing Lubambo’s guitar work to simply float across the top. Where a natural, pretty strum gives the surreal tone-painting “Jobimiana” a balancing serenity, a notey, prickly melody cuts through a funked-up, heavy-throb arrangement of “Bahia.” Miles and Lubambo also authored many of the tracks here, including “From Brooklyn to Brazil,” which plays out its title in appropriate style, layering Brazilian percussive walk and piano undertones with worldly, crackling city effects. Under Lubambo’s gentle guitar lead, the piece becomes a prime example of the modern-meets-traditional pull displayed throughout the album.

Originally Published