By Chris M. Slawecki
Have you ever walked alone through a quiet beautiful woodland and stepped into an open space full of nothing but warm and growing brightness, and felt like nature was a cathedral and you were seated in its front row? Another Feeling sounds just like that: completely, naturally, immaculate and beautiful.
Dexter Payne on clarinet and alto saxophone creates this Feeling with writer/arranger Thiago de Mello on acoustic piano, guitar and “organic percussion, handmade instruments personally crafted from gourds, sticks, seeds, shells and other scraps from nature. No bassist, no drummer. The idea, says de Mello, was to avoid the traditional setup of piano, bass and drums combined with a horn.
Clarinet as lead instrument often lends a quaint air. “Tal Como O Vinho, moves with elegant and relaxed grace into a three-way dance among acoustic percussion, clarinet and piano, a miniature melody small in scope but not stature. “Kimbolian Dawn, written to showcase pianist Richard Kimball, pounces with the sunny bounce of ragtime. (I smiled more than once at thinking, “Now we know the sound of Benny Goodman jamming after hours at a piano lounge in Rio… ) Yet when Payne switches to alto saxophone to lead “What About That, his crisp, articulate swing echoes the Paul Desmond classic “Take Five.
Composed by de Mello as “sort of an answer to Jobim’s ‘One Note Samba,’ “Two Good Notes swings upon piano and guitar as delicate and bright as the promise of a new dawn. “A Hug For Gil Evans, in memory of de Mello’s friendship with Evans, forged through their shared affection for Brazilian music, opens with a native vocal chant before twirling between percussion, clarinet and spellbinding piano by Haroldo Mauro, Jr.
Vocalist Ithamara Koorax also lends her angelic voice. In the title track, she rings in the dawn as supremely bright as a streaming ray of morning sunshine, and she transforms “An Evening Prayer into a reverent piece that seems precisely that. Her turns in “The Exile Song and “Urumutum/Swing Low Sweet Chariot are just as gorgeous.
Published: January 3, 2007
by Jon Jackson
“I’ve been listening to Another Feeling. It really grows on you. I’m just terrifically impressed with the whole production. I think it is probably the recording of the year for me. I liked it from the start… But when I listened to it I was more and more taken with it, until finally I was listening to it every day. Right now, I think my favorite piece is the title piece, especially Korman’s bluesy piano. But the whole record is deeply satisfying. I will probably have a new “favorite” piece next week.
I love that low register clarinet. But, as always, I’m especially pleased by the alto. It is great the way you can swing with such casual gentleness. That seems like a Brazilian thing, to me — to be so relaxed and low-key, yet play with such intensity. I really enjoy the formation of those improvisations. But then, I’ve always enjoyed the way you tell musical stories.
Next week … with Terry Conrad, I’m devoting most of the show to early Sonny Rollins, from the `50s into the late `60s. But I think I’ll spend some time playing Another Feeling. I think the folks need to know more about this great record. Ithamara Koorax has a great voice, great style …Thiago has a great spirit; you two [Thiago and Dexter] are well matched.”
Jon Jackson, writer/commentator, Missoula, MT
(Hear Jon Jackson on kufm.org:”Jazz Sessions” 2-4pm the last Thurs of every month.)
From album liner notes by Alex Henderson:
‘DeSouteiro describes [Luiz] Bonfá as this album’s “spiritual godfather”; it was the legendary Bonfá who introduced DeSouteiro to veteran percussionist/composer/guitarist/pianist de Mello back in the 1980s. “I became very impressed by all of Thiago’s qualities as a writer, arranger, bandleader and multi-instrumentalist,” recalls the Rio de janeiro-based DeSouteiro, who first worked with de Mello when the master musician played percussion on Bonfá’s The Bonfá Magic (which DeSouteiro produced) in 1991. De Mello and DeSouteiro went on to work together extensively, and Another Feeling is their most recent collaboration. DeSouteiro has seen de Mello perform in a variety of settings sometimes with his large Amazon ensemble, sometimes with smaller groups but for Another Feeling, he envisioned something de Mello had never done before: a Brazilian jazz album excluding both bass and regular drums. On this intimate, accessible, highly melodic effort, the basic format consists of Brazilian percussion, clarinet or alto sax (which are provided by the swinging yet delightfully lyrical Payne) and acoustic piano. Another Feeling is mostly instrumental, although singer Ithamara Koorax, DeSouteiro’s wife since 1990 and a major vocal star in Brazil, is featured on four selections…
… De Mello suggested that instead of using only one pianist, they would employ different pianists at different times and the project’s acoustic pianists range from two Americans (Richard Kimball and Cliff Korman) to two Brazilians (Haroldo Mauro Jr, and Helio Alves)…
With its combination of Brazilian and American participants, Another Feeling exemplifies what Payne describes as “cross-cultural collaboration.” The union of Brazilian and American musicians has yielded excellent results in the past, ranging from guitarist Laurindo Almeida and alto saxophonist Bud Shank’s groundbreaking Braziliance sessions of 1953 and 1958 to Stan Getz’ bossa nova encounters with Jobim, Bonfá and the Gilbertos in the early 1960s and Another Feeling demonstrates that positive things can continue to happen when Brazilian and American players join forces.’
-from liner notes by Alex Henderson, Philadelphia-based journalist whose work has appeared in Billboard, Spin, Jazz Times, Jazziz, the L.A.Weekly. CD Review, HITS, Black Radio Exclusive (BRE), All About Jazz and numerous other well known publications over the years. Since 1996, he has written thousands of reviews for the All Music Guide’s popular website and series of reference books.