The pandeiro is a Brazillian hand drum. It looks like a tambourine but is more complicated to play and can produce more sounds. The more I watched and read about the instrument the more I understood why Scott Feiner was lured back into music by it. He discovered the instrument when he moved to Brazil and he stayed to learn more. Using a pandeiro is like holding an entire drum kit in your hand. The fullness of percussion sound that it can produce was impressive. Feiner’s become adept with the instrument and it is the driving force behind his new CD, Accents.
Joined by Freddie Bryant playing guitar, Joel Frahm on saxophone and Joe Martin handling bass duty, Feiner brings the pandeiro and jazz together, blending Brazillian rhythms with contemporary jazz in an informal and vibrant and beautiful fashion. I’ve never heard pandeiro before so I cannot personally judge whether or not Feiner is a premier player. But others can. And I read in more than one place that Feiner is one gringo who has truly taken to the instrument and plays it like it deserves.
It sounds fabulous to me. It seems like the pandeiro would take some time to master. It’s small and looks simple, but it does the work of drum set. From the click of snare to the fuller thump of a tom, and even a little splash of cymbal, the small hand drum covers the range of beats and sounds needed. All with the right twist of the wrist and slap of the palm or thumb. I think Feiner’s timing and the strength of the pandeiro in backing a song is easily followed on “Jobmiola”, a Joel Frahm composition. For me, everything came together on that track.
This fusion of sounds accomplishes what all fusions should: it intrigues. It makes you want to go out and understand the different musical styles represented. I’m still trying to sort out all the different Latin rhythms I’ve been listening to. I’m finding that I appreciate Brazillian flavored ones. Recently I’ve heard some Randy Brecker and Mark Weinstein and Adriano Santos. Feiner’s music, like theirs, has contemplative, the gentle grooves that serve to wash away the stains of the stressful work day.
Freddie Bryant’s guitar is a perfect complement to Feiner’s pandeiro. In fact, the CD opens with a Freddie Bryant composition, “Alone,” a plangent tune that begs you to keep listening. The other songs are a a mix of standards given the pandeiro treatment and originals from the band. Some standards included are “Watermelon Man” by Herbie Hancock and “Soul Eyes” from Mal Waldron.
Feiner has succeeded in producing ‘a distinctive manner of expression’. It’s jazzy with a Brazillian accent. The CD releases on November 9th.