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Malcolm Braff: Inside

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This modern soul-jazz piano trio, tinged with African shadings, is led by Brazilian-born Malcolm Braff, who grew up in the Cape Verde Islands and Senegal before settling in Switzerland. With electric bassist Reggie Washington and Austrian drummer Lukas Koenig, Braff travels from the African-flavored “Crimson Waves” (featuring Swiss vocalist Aurélie Emery), to a take on Prince’s James Brown-inspired “Sexy M.F.,” to the slow blues of “Empathy for the Devil.” Braff’s buoyant “The Mirror” and his interpretation of Baden Powell’s “Berimbau” take him back to his Brazilian roots, while the rhythmically driving “Mantra” and “Yay!,” both performed on treated piano, sound steeped in the heart of Senegal. Two gently introspective solo piano pieces, “Tied to Tide” and “Dawn,” deviate from the groove-oriented program.

Originally Published