Terrence Brewer embodies the true spirit of independent artistry that is San Francisco.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Forget Los Angeles, real improvisational music is thriving in the San Francisco area and Terrence Brewer is one of the very finest. While artistic comparisons are unfair, Terrence Brewer is a unique voice for the guitar that is somewhere between Mike Stern and George Benson. Mi Historia is the Calling Volume Four: The Latin Jazz Project.
Six of the nine tunes are originals which are harmonically inventive and strong on the percussive pop of the stereotypical Latin jazz flavor one would expect. Brewer has mad skills as a composer and this may well be his calling card. Toss in a couple of Jobim favorites and you have a release that is somewhat predictable but in a good way. Grooves and rhythms are manipulated to add a slightly more commercial appeal while sacrificing little in terms of authenticity. Traditionally guitarists in North America shy away from the full blown Latin release with the two notable exceptions of Grant Green and Steve Khan. While Brewer is certainly not in the rarefied company of two such accomplished and acclaimed masters, Mi Historia is steeped in flavor and presents the Latin genre in a somewhat deconstructed fashion. "The Girl From Ipanema" is given new life, amped up with a cha-cha beat that gives life to a tune most critics have heard mangled more times than they can list. "Shut Up And Play" kicks off the party and is a wonderful showcase for the versatility that Terrence Brewer brings to the table. There isn't much to not like here. Latin aficionado's could nitpick a few issues but hypercritical is not how I roll.
While I am not necessarily blown away by this effort, Terrence Brewer sounds like no one else and begs to heard. Independent artists are often lost in the shuffle, ignored and overlooked. Terrence Brewer has a solid musical pedigree including work with Michael McDonald. This is Terrence Brewer's riff on Latin jazz, the emphasis here is on the interpretation of the sound but not the sound itself. Terrence Brewer is a name to seek out and remember, a true treasure for the Bay area and beyond!
Tracks: Shut Up And Play; Ten Years And Counting; Afternoon Romance; Loves Evolution; Smba De Orfeu; The Girl From Ipanema; The Girl From Faifua; If You Never Come To Me; Dance of The Ostentatious.
Personnel: Terrence Brewer: Guitar; Andy Ostwald: Piano; Doug Ebert: Acoustic Bass; Kelly Fasman: Drums, Percussion.