An incredibly organic presentation of instrumental compositions centered around a woodwind quintet has the third collaboration between the two bridging the gap between Brazilian and the more traditional scope of western improvised music with ease and a quiet grace. Don't get me wrong there is a strong lyrical swing when called upon but the deceptively subtle approach taken to this work is intoxicating.
There are three tunes that lead into City Suite and Choro Suite. For the uninitiated the "Choro" is the early form of Brazilian dance music that we have come to know as the samba. "Nine Toes" leads off with a percussive flair and the lyrical walking bass lines of Farquharson. A contemporary tour of jazz flavor town, addictive. "Boston" breaks the work down into a woodwind quintet oriented work with slight neo-classical over tones with a deep rich harmonic depth of field. The dynamic tension created by this small jazz orchestra keeps in perfect counterpoint to the minor key and slowly shifting meter of this suite as an organic pulse begins to slowly emerge. "Praca Onze" is an ethereal Brazilian tune loaded with flavor and an odd musical whimsy that is oddly reminiscent of something found on Broadway.
The ability to flow with such ease from contemporary jazz to the earliest form of Brazilian style samba while making a few but well deserved detours along the way is part of an intriguing sonic landscape. Farquharson's City Suite is a melodic adaptation of personal experience of life and the resulting journey set to music. Nicholl's Choro Suite is a personal adaptation of the samba and they seem to create a unique symmetry not often heard when there is a hybridization of this nature occurring. An international holiday without ever leaving the comfort of your couch!
An engaging yet eclectic performance from all participants giving the illusion of a small ensemble but simply carried off on a grand scale. An absolute winner!
Tracks: Nine Toes; Aytul's Waltz; Cleo And Joan; City Suite: Boston, Halifax, Istanbul, DC al Perugia; Choro Suite: Prelude, Praca Onze, Tres Lados, Roda Loca, Della By Moonlight.
Personnel: Michael Farquharson: electric bass, fretless bass, piccolo bass; Matthew Nicholl: piano, keyboards, percussion.
Featuring: Greg Badolato: tenor sax, Tim Miller: guitar, Steve Langone: drums.
With: Peggy Friedland: flute, Andrea Bonsignore: oboe; Steve Jackson: clarinet; Alyssa Daly: french horn; Margo McGowan: bass clarinet; Greg Newton: bassoon; Burak Besir: flute, Jerilyn Sykes: clarinet; Barbara LaFitte: oboe; Amparo Edo Biol: french horn; Peter Cokkinias: bass clarinet; Daniel Ian Smith: alto sax; Ken Cervenka: trumpet; Takuma Anzai: drums.