On his second release, the impressive Caldo-de-Cana (Sugar Cane Juice), virtuoso David Ganc puts the flute in the forefront (as compared to his debut record, Baladas Brasileiras, dominated by the saxophone). The intersection of these two main choices (the instrument and the release title) serves as the leitmotif for understanding the concept of the entire album: a celebration of Brazilian popular music and its most peculiar features -- Brazilian instrumental music, therefore, as opposed to less-accurate comparisons to jazz. In fact, the flute has a solid tradition in Brazilian music and is central to choro, one of the country's most important genres. Not by chance a choro was included here, Leandro Braga's "Impressão de Choro." As the title suggests, the impressionistic colors are strong enough to transport the listener into a nostalgic meeting with Antônio Calado in a romantic atmosphere where the melancholic/sentimental character of the piece is confronted with dissonances and melodic angularities (provided also by Braga's strong piano playing). Choro is also strongly suggested in "Vó Argemira" (Nando Carneiro), with its deliciously subtle arrangement consisting uniquely of Ganc's flute and Zeca Assumpção's singing double bass. Several other instances of this melancholy, so dear to the Brazilian belle époque/ pre-mass media period, are provided, like "Divertimento" (Nivaldo Ornelas), where the openly romantic overtones provided by a longing valse as performed by flute, piano (Leandro Braga), and cello (Iura Ranevsky) become so dense that they could be cut with a knife. But that doesn't mean that rhythmic vibration and highly expressive improv are absent; much to the contrary. The album opens with an energetic baião arrangement, with the splendid participation of the precise Quarteto Guerra Peixe, for "Fica Mal Com Deus" (Geraldo Vandré), Ganc's tribute to the influential Quarteto Novo, and the vibrant Northeastern feel is kept on "Caldo de Cana" (a quasi-xaxado with a banda de pífanos in the air and the opportune interventions of a ten-string viola) and in the frevo "Na Tradição do Frevo" (David Ganc/Vittor Santos). Abandoning some dangerous essentialism, Ganc invests the samba "Pro Marçal" with funky bass interventions by Arthur Maia, instrumental to placing the performance in the context of 2002. The album closes with a haunting a cappella brass arrangement for "Inútil Paisagem" (Tom Jobim/Aloysio de Oliveira). Do not look for crystallized bossa nova rhythms here; rather, stay alert for provoking dissonances and a strong Hermeto Pascoal influence.
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