Mark Morganelli and the Jazz Forum All-Stars bring “Brasil!” to life

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Mark Morganelli is a trumpeter and flugelhornist whose fifth album as a leader, “Brasil!” celebrates the music of that country. On “Brasil!” Morganelli plays with the Jazz Forum All-Stars.

The album was made available for purchase June 25, 2019. It is a two-disc set with more than a dozen tracks per disc, and each disc with a running time of almost an hour. “Brasil!” is chock-full of music and the homage to and celebration of Brazil is complete. There are different rhythms, styles that all evoke Brazil and its rich musical traditions. The album immerses listeners into the sound and feel of samba and bossa nova (and its precursor). When the complete recording ends, listeners will likely feel as though they have traveled to Brazil.

About Mark Morganelli

Morganelli has led his own groups since he was in high school. A Long Island native, Morganelli played at the 1976 Montreux Jazz Festival, the 1992 and 1994 Syracuse Jazz Festivals, the Du Maurier Downtown Toronto Jazz Festival and several other festivals. He has also toured Italy as recently as 2018. Morganelli’s touring schedule has taken him to venues across Europe, Japan, Brazil and the Caribbean. He has even hosted jam sessions aboard the QE2 en route  to the Newport Jazz Festival from 1996 to 1999.

Morganelli began his recording career in 1982. His albums have included a mix of originals and standards. He has recorded more than 40 CDs for Candid Records. Including his own “Speak Low,” which was recorded at Birdland in 1990.

Morganelli’s performance history is long and varied. “Brasil!” sounds polished and confident and gives audiences a feel for the country’s music. On “Brasil!” an album full of rich and engaging songs, “Falsa Baiana” and “Outra Vez” stand out.

“Falsa Baiana” by Mark Morganelli & the Jazz Forum All-Stars

Even if a listener was unaware of the tribute to Brazil’s music that inspired the recording, this last song on disc one would inform them. With instrumentation that feels like skipping from the clacking percussion to the celebratory horns, this song about two different types of samba dancers evokes sensations of warm weather, stunning vistas and what it must feel like to dance samba appropriately to make crowds go crazy.

The vocal parts (male and female mixed) are rapid-fire and in Portuguese. The pace of the singing is the same as that of the soundscape, and there is an effervescence, a love of life that emanates from each line. As a part of “Brasil!” it is the perfect close to disc one.

“Outra Vez” by Mark Morganelli & the Jazz Forum All-Stars

The song opens with a gentle clack of drumsticks. The flugelhorn sounds relaxed and nimble and it eases into the soundscape, but paves the way for the accordion. When it returns, it plays the same motif, a shoulder-swaying beat that is calming, yet upbeat. A piano tinkles throughout, and a bass provides a constant, deep groove that is so a part of the soundscape that it is almost taken for granted. Horns accent everything with subtle flair.

The song’s rhythm sounds as if it is a variation of a waltz. Audiences can see people engaging in stylized, classic dancing. Intermittently, a faint scat by a male voice is dropped in, but ends before audiences can come to rely on its presence.

Overall, “Brasil!” is an album that is not just visually stunning (a painting of Rio by Morganelli’s son Jaren adorns the cover and the fronts of the discs), but musically, it surprises with its choice of songs that pay homage to a country’s music that Morganelli came to respect four decades ago.

 

 

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