Uri Caine

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Rio Review

by Glenn Astarita

During the late '90s through 2001, pianist/composer Uri Caine found a home with the Germany-based Winter & Winter record label. After a string of largely successful third stream-type interpretations and reinventions of classical composers -- Gustav Mahler, Johann Sebastian Bach, and others -- and one conventional jazz piano trio outing, Caine launched 2002 with three concurrent yet vastly dissimilar releases. Here, the artist presents the listener with a musical account of his travels in Rio de Janeiro, as he enlists local percussionists and vocalists to augment his base rhythm section. Winter & Winter printed the liners, track listings, personnel, and incidentals in Portuguese. Some of these works were recorded in a parking lot and other venues, and Caine and the production team judiciously left many of the background noises and sounds of the street intact. The pianist utilizes Fender Rhodes electric piano and acoustic piano throughout. However, the primary thrust of this recording resides within the often buoyantly executed rhythms and bustling frameworks, where Caine constructs jazzy motifs atop a series of samba and funk grooves, rap, and more. With this effort, Caine seemingly derives inspiration from the rhythmic structures while melding his thematic inventions into the percussionists' temporal planes. Nonetheless, the artist captures and illustrates the less commercial side of what might be considered indigenous Brazilian music.

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