A bright and breezy release full of contemporary Brazilian flavor and charm.
Brent Black / www.bop-n-jazz.com
Latin jazz and specifically the music of Brazil and Argentina would have to be my own lyrical wheelhouse. For the purist that stresses the authenticity of the music over the contemporary spin on what attempts to pass as Brazilian music here in the United States, I feel you.
Phill Fest and Project B.F.C have managed to pull off a happy medium that incorporates elements of both the traditional and the contemporary into a well thought out presentation that will certainly find an audience. "B.F.C" refers to the Brazilian / Florida connection since this is where Fest resides these days after growing up in Minneapolis.
As a guitarist Phill Fest is as technically proficient as they come, on occasion the music will quietly morph into Latin easy listening however the ebb and flow here is often more engaging than anything coming out of the smoother side of the jazz street so I'll press on. Robert Prester is a classically trained pianist making that sometimes difficult transition into the world of improvisational music but holds the rhythm section together nicely. Bassist Russ Howard is the resident soul pumpkin of the ensemble keeping things moving while drummer / percussionist Ronie Martinez turns in an exemplary performance. Special guest Hendrik Meurkens would be the resident virtuoso of the group and his contributions are of course welcome and important in tieing some of the loose harmonic ends together.
At time the release bogs down in predictability yet the high level of artistic proficiency somehow overcomes what would have the potential to be a sonic sleeping pill and lets the release grow and develop naturally. Brazilian chill music? Probably...Overall a solid effort, if you like a Latin groove on a more contemporary tip then this may just be what you are looking for.
3.5 Stars. This release grows on you, and in a good way!
Tracks: B.F.C. Is Coming; Florianopolis; Samba de Cayo Hueso; Baiao da Amizoda; Islands of Guizar; Clearwater Sunset; Commonwealth Ave.; Bossa Blues #2; Dig This Samba; Ate Mais.
Personnel: Phill Fest: Guitars & Vocals; Robert Prester: Piano; Russ Howard: Bass; Ronie Martinez: Drums & Percussion.
Special Guest: Hendrik Meurkens