Ali Ryerson

Brasil: Quiet Devotion

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Ali Ryerson is a graceful, soulful flutist who worked with Brazilian musicians Helcio Melito and Weber Drummond for several years before recording their collaboration here. The drawback on this, her third Concord CD, is its uneven material; much of it is rather poppish, mixed with two spacey free improvisations and an awkward version of "Send in the Clowns," where the group tries to compensate for the tune's melodic limitations by changing the tempo five times. Half the tracks are composed by Drummond, who plays a fine piano and writes bright, fairly generic bossas for Ryerson's flute to float over. His ballads are more distinctive, notably the wistful "Camila," beautifully rendered with just piano and flute, and the lovely, meditative title track, which features the luscious cello of Eugene Moye. Drummond's arrangement of Jobim's "Double Rainbow" is another effective springboard for Ryerson's solo flights, and his up-tempo version of "Stella by Starlight" is a swinging samba standout, with fine solos by flute, piano, and bassist Jeff Fuller and shimmering electric guitar work by Joe Beck, who also enhances the ever-lovely, newer standard "Estate." Another highlight is "Praeludium II," where the familiar classical piece segues into a Carnaval beat and the solos by Drummond and Fuller blend the Bach quite nicely with the feeling of Brazil. Ryerson is consistently good throughout, helping to make this a pleasant, if not electrifying, release.

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