Paulo Moura

Mood Ingenuo: Pixinguinha Meets Duke Ellington

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Many of the seemingly dozens of "Ellington Meets..." albums out there are specious, cynical attempts to cash in on the Duke's good name. This is not one of them. Pianist Cliff Korman and alto saxophonist Paulo Moura are savvy interpreters of Ellington's coolly sophisticated tunes, and the decision to pair them with those of Brazilian composer Pixinguinha (a contemporary of Ellington's who, if such a thing is possible, holds an even higher place in the pantheon of Brazilian popular music than Ellington does in jazz) is absolutely brilliant. Ellington and Pixinguinha both brought new levels of melodic sophistication to their respective musics, and Moura and Korman treat the pair as equals, bringing a subtle Brazilian flavor to songs like Ellington's "Moonglow" as they impart a jazzy mellowness to Pixinguinha ballads like "Lamentos." Excellent stuff, although the three spoken tracks between the nine proper duets add nothing to the album as a whole.

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