This is no "dull sublunary lovers' love" but a transcendence of injustice and pain by means of human contact. Cosmic stuff. There are excellent songs on the second half of the disc, too, notably the catchy "Everyone Has a Broken Heart" and the hypnotic "Light a Way." But quoting lyrics doesn't give a sense of the lush yet elemental arrangements of these songs or their womblike melodies. Listen to some and then see if you don't want to pick up this CD as soon as it comes out.
Gary Morgan and PanAmericana!, Felicidade
My first serious music gig was with a swing band, and I've loved big-band music ever since. Combine the depth and tonal variety of a full jazz orchestra with Brazilian beats and flavors, and you've got something quite delicious.
Gary Morgan's orchestrations - of his own tunes as well as those by Brazilian composers like Antonio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Eça - range from propulsive to lyrical and everything in between. Adding French horns and Latin percussion to the standard saxes, brass, and rhythm section, Morgan creates masterful arrangements that rarely sound self-consciously virtuosic. Typically, every touch contributes to the musicality, even when bursts of brass power interrupt dreamy soundscapes, as in "Reflexos," or when he slows a bossa nova to a languid crawl in "Tudo Bem."
Besides "Tudo Bem," "Pedra Vermelha" is the second centerpiece of the set. Morgan orchestrated the existing arrangement by the composer, Itiberê Zwarg, whom Morgan is championing. It's a feathery, scintillating piece inspired by the Brazilian mountain of the title; judging from the jumpy music, Pedra Vermelha sounds like a place of bright waterfalls and scudding clouds. The piece even shades away from jazz and into a modern classical vein. This dics's going right on my jazz shelf.