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Friday, June 2, 2006


Duduka Da Fonseca Quintet "Samba Jazz in Black & White"

One of Brazil's best musical exports, drummer Duduka Da Fonseca has played on 200-some recording sessions with Tom Jobim and the Brazilian jazz group Trio da Paz. With one foot planted firmly in both jazz and Brazilian music, "Samba Jazz" is Da Fonseca's second album as leader.

Brazilian jazz evokes images of delicate rhythms and gentle sax melodies. Here, "Bye Bye Brasil" and "Medo De Amar" certainly fit that bill. But what really appeals on these dozen tracks is how much energy the quintet is able to tap. On opener "Mestre Bimba," saxophonist Anat Cohen lets loose while "Viver de Amor" finds guitarist Vic Juris countering the melody with a sharp insistence. The transition from intense improvising to lush atmospherics is accomplished with impeccable sense and great vitality. Through it all, the drums and percussion mold each tune. Whether subtly shading the sway of Jobim's "O Grande Amor" or setting fire under the chords on "Dry Land," Da Fonseca's compelling polyrhythms make this a dazzling blend of samba and jazz.

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