Concerto Para Moviola
This new album by the Brazilian pianist, composer, and arranger Ricardo Bacelar, puts jazz fusion of the 1970s and 1980s in the spotlight as it documents a performance specially produced for the traditional Guaramiranga Jazz and Blues Festival, held annually in Guaramiranga, Brazil, during the renowned Carnival celebration. Recorded at the Via Sul Theatre, "Concerto para Moviola" showcases Bacelar’s deep fascination with ’70s and ’80s jazz fusion, as he is heard on a blend of analog synthesizers, Brazilian music, and acoustic piano with his band that included guitar, saxophones and flute, violin along with a rhythm section and percussion. Mixed in are classics from the jazz-fusion sphere from Joe Zawinul Pat Metheny and Bob Mintzer of the Yellowjackets, several jazz standards from Benny Golson and Horace Silver, along with several Brazilian gems from Jobim, Egberto Gismonti and Ivans Lins and several original compositions from the leader.
Its a pretty varied and lively program and Bacelar and his ensemble transverse his brief lively warm-up number "Cordillera," which leads into a driving rendition of the Weather Report classic "Birdland." Benny Golson's classic "Killer Joe," employs Quincy Jones' arrangement and receives a funky reworking with Marcio Resende ripping a hot tenor sax solo.There is a dreamy feel to the treatment of Metheny's "So May It Secretly Begin," which is followed by the strident Mintzer composed "March Majestic," with some bluesy tenor followed by the soft fusion take on Michel Legrand's "The Windmills of Your Mind" with Resende almost whispering on the sax while Marcus Vinicius Cardoso's violin is quite striking, and is followed by an intriguing "Senor Blues," with percolating percussion on an adaptation of David Sanborn's arrangement.
"Moviola" is a lovely original named after an cinema editing machine and has a lovely waltz-like feel. Several Brazilian classics include the somber rendition of the Buarque-Jobin "Sabiá"; the lovely Gismonti-Carneiro composition "Palhaço," with lovely violin as well as piano; the breezy "Setembro" from Ivan Lins/Vitor Martins/Gilson Peranzzetta; and "Água de Beber," one of the greatest of all of Jobim's songs (co-written with Vinicius de Moraes) with marvelous flute and violin along with the crisp, bouncy ensemble playing. Bacelar's "Apartheid Blues," is a nice blues interpretation with guitarist Ronaldo Pessoa takes off on a blues-rock solo that suggests John Scofeld before Bacelar adds his own jazzy take on the blues.
Chick Corea influenced Bacelar and an energetic take on Corea's "Blues Miles" closes this document of one night's performance with Bacelar on electric piano and solos from Resende and Pessoa. It concludes a live recording mixing a variety of material with a certain freshness in approach and performance.
I received my review copy from a publicist. This review originally appeared in the July-August jazz & Blues Report (Issue 367). Here is "Killer Joe" from this performance.