Nilson Matta / Nilson Matta & Brazilian Voyage

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Copacabana Review

by Ken Dryden

Nilson Matta is one of the most in-demand bassists for record dates encompassing Brazilian music, in addition to being a leader and also a member of the group Trio da Paz. This is only Matta's third CD under his own name, but it is a truly international session, with Americans Harry Allen (tenor sax) and Anne Drummond (flute), German pianist Klaus Mueller, plus fellow Brazilians Murico Zottarelli (drums) and percussionist Ze Mauricio. Matta composed "Baden" as a tribute to the late Brazilian guitarist/composer Baden Powell, a feature for the rhythm section that delves into a Bach-like fugue. 20th century composer Heitor Villa-Lobos penned "Trenzinho do Caipira ("The Little Train of the Caipira") as a part of his "Bachianas Brasileiras" suite, though this famous theme takes on a very different flavor with Matta's jazzy adaptation, which prominently features Allen and Drummond in the mix. The leader showcases his arco playing in his virtuoso solo masterpiece "Pantanal," at times suggesting a country hoedown à la Aaron Copland. Matta doubles on acoustic guitar in his delightful, easygoing bossa nova "Copacabana," with Allen conjuring the spirit of Stan Getz. Allen contributed the original ballad "I Can See Forever," written with the influence of the saudade style and suggesting a gorgeous sunset on a warm, romantic evening. Copacabana is a memorable date that reveals new facets with each hearing.

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