Monday, March 31, 2014

Phill Fest's Projeto B.F.C.

Guitarist Phill Fest, son of bossa nova pioneer Manfredo Fest, has issued Projeto B.F.C., which explores jazz and bossa from high energy samba and baiao rhythms, to subtle bossa gentleness. B.F.C. refers to the Brazilian-Florida connection (as Phill has been in South Florida for over a decade). He is backed by pianist Robert Prester, Brazilian drummer Ronie Martinez and bassist Russ Howard with Hendrik Meurkens adding his harmonica virtuosity to several selections. The material includes originals by Phill, pianist Robert Prester, drummer Martinez and genre defining compositions by Manfredo Fest.

A couple of short percussion features by Martinez open and close this lively album. Fest’s own Florianoplis was previously recorded by his father and is a brisk and lively number that displays his fleet guitar playing backed by the lively accented group. Kenny Drew Jr paid tribute to Manfredo with Samba De Cayo Hueso, and Meurkens adds his chromatic harp virtuosity to the scintillating solos by Prester and Fest. One also has to acknowledge the crisp and lively support of Howard and Martinez here (and he takes a short solo break on this selection) and throughout. On Baiao Da Amizade, there is much charm in the interplay between Fest and Prester (who overdubs on acoustic guitars and vocalizes) before Howard solos.

Meurkens is also present on Manfredo’s lovely Clearwater Sunset, with Phill adding lovely guitar against the light swaying rhythm. Prester’s Commonwealth Ave opens with Gershwin-esque piano prior to Fest taking it into another gear on another spirited performance. Manfredo’s “Dig This Samba” is another lively performance that has Meurkens once again joining the group for another marvelous performance on a recording of Brazilian jazz that consistently delights listeners.

I received my review copy from a publicist. Here Phill Fest and group perform Manfredo's Dig This Samba.

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