and the Latin Tinge
Hey, It's Me
©Mark Levine LCC001
you remember the sensations you felt the first time you tasted guacamole?
The feeling of tightening your belt and discovering you lost a notch?
Catching yourself in the mirror after a day at the beach and noticing
how much better you look with a tan? Hearing Ella sing Gershwin
with Nelson Riddle's orchestra? Finding a 20-dollar bill on the
street and no one else in sight? We don't want to over dramatize
the way we felt when we heard the first track of Hey, It's Me
by Mark Levine and the Latin Tinge, but it was darn close.
first thing that overwhelms you is the glorious sound. It's fat,
chunky and clear, all at the same time. The opening song You
and the Night and the Music is first taken at an Afro tempo
and then switches effortlessly into a mambo. And then back again.
It's not fussy; it's acrobatic and it makes perfect musical sense.
The players all play at once and yet sound distinct from each other.
songs range from jazz standards (Airegin, Green Dolphin Street)
to samples from the great American Songbook, like Without a Song
and an absolutely essential version of My One and Only Love.
The album works equally well for dancing or listening. It deserves
better, but you could easily play it in the background at a cocktail
party and everyone would be in a good mood.
band consists of Mark Levine on piano, Michael Spiro on percussion,
Peter Barshay on bass and Paul Van Wageningen on drums and they
are a true ensemble. Together they run the gamut of Latin rhythms,
even touching Brazil, and maintain a solid jazz stance. One of the
reason we love this recording so much is that neither the Jazz nor
the Latin are compromised.
Brom with the Cornell Hurd Band
Feudin' and Fightin'
popular music gets blander and blander, it seems that the independent
labels are making more and more interesting music. Hopefully with
the Internet and some clever alternative marketing smarts, they'll
find some success and leave Christina Aguilera, Eminem and their
ilk to the retarded teenagers of the world while we enjoy off-beat
delights like Marti Brom's Feudin' and Fightin'. From our
point of view, it's inconceivable that anyone, anywhere would not
at least enjoy this neo-hillbilly romp, if not out and out love
off, Brom has a big voice with a fair range and a completely pleasant
sound. Comparisons to Patsy Cline are inevitable but not entirely
fair to either lady. But there is that undeniable sense of swing
in both voices that gets under your skin and inspires midnight hayrides
and smooching in the moonlight. The voice might be inspired by Cline,
but aesthetically, Brom is channeling Judy Canova as her muse. The
music on Fuedin' and Fightin' is country, but in the old
sense. It's mildly corny and chock full of melody. We have no idea
if Hillbilly music is making a revival, but perhaps it should.
songs are on this short 6-track CD are all covers. The opener, Feudin'
and Fightin' is from the catalogue of Dorothy Shay, known in
the 1940s as the "Park Avenue Hillbilly". The bulk of
Shay's work was recently reissued on CD (Jazz Band VJB 1954-2) and
as fun as she is, a little goes a long way. Brom is much more theatrical
and has a better voice. Other novelties on Feudin' and Fightin'
include Tennessee Ernie Ford's Kiss Me Big and a multi-tempo
opus called They Were Doing the Mambo. The highlight of the
whole CD is Brom's swinging rendition of Moonshine Lullaby
(listed incorrectly as Moon Shine Lullabye, if it matters).
When Ethel Merman sang it in Annie Get Your Gun, the swing
was all implied in Ethel's voice. Here, the band gently rocks and
rolls and it's a winner all the way.
album like this could easily become too cute or border on the silly.
Marti Brom and the Cornell Hurd Band avoid the pitfalls that would
turn this into simply a nostalgia act. Even though they probably
could capably perform any music they set their minds to, it's clear
they love this music and it shows.
special review from contributor Robin Golding:
Blue Brazil 3 - Blue Note in a Latin Groove
do the law of diminishing returns and Blue Brazil 3 have in
common? Anyone please! Well the law of diminishing returns talks about
decreasing levels of satisfaction as additional new units are consumed
and in the case of Blue Brazil 3, this is indeed the case.
After sampling volumes one and two you realize that three is not the
"magic number" and that all of those economic lectures were
not in vain. The problem with all three volumes is that they follow
a rather strange formula: a couple of sizzlers, a few goodies and
far too many also-rans (or fillers if you prefer.) It's a shame because
when you get to delve into the Blue Note catalogue with the objective
of finding some of the best Latin grooves ever recorded and you end
up with these 21 songs, then you have definitely missed the luxury
the outset this compilation is not for the first time Latin buyer.
Try Red Hot and Nova Bossafor that. Blue Brazil 3
is more for the collector with a good foundation who is looking
to add a few more classics. And if you are after a few classics,
then look no further than Leny Andrade's Nao Adianta which
is the standout track in this collection. Leny Andrade, one of foremost
singers of Brazilian jazz, has been refining the art of interpreting
the Bossa Nova since the 60's and Nao Adianta is testament
to this unique ability.
goodies include Wilson Simonal on Tudo de Voce, Marcos Valle's
Os Grilos, and the infectious limbo percussion riffs of Monsueto.
All three Blue Brazil volumes thankfully include Elza Soares,
the queen of samba. She doesn't disappoint, with two screaming ditties
that will have you flaying your arms and wiggling your bum. It is
also particularly pleasing to hear that Elza, daughter of a washerwoman,
born and raised in a favela (shantytown) in Rio de Janeiro, was
recently heard performing in London in concert with Gal Costa, Chico
Buarque, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso and Virgínia Rodrigues.
rest of the album has the names, (Milton Banana Trio, Danilo Caymmi
and Os Borges), but this is not their best material and as a result
this volume falls away rather badly. Still, if this is your poison,
then the few strong tracks that can be safely filed under "Classics"
will justify parting with your hard-earned dollars and on their
strength alone we give three martinis to Blue Brazil 3. And
maybe an olive.