Saturday , March 2 2024
Two new jazz albums spiced with a little Brazilian pop.

Music Reviews: Phil Bowler & Pocket Jungle, Tim Ferguson Inside/Out, and Grecco Buratto

Phil Bowler & Pocket Jungle – Phil Bowler & Pocket Junglephil bowler

After a lapse of some 20 years Pocket Jungle, which began as a project for veteran bassist Phil Bowler, is back with a new album initiated by drummer William “Beaver” Bausch as a tribute to Bowler. Originally the band featured the trumpet of Bill Dowling, but when he left sax man Paul Carlon took over. Carlon is back for the new album along with guitarist Pete Smith.  Scott Latzky joins in on several tracks on drums and tablas.

Along with original material from Pocket Jungle’s own crew like Bausch’s “The Set-Up,” which opens the album, Smith’s “Time Released,” and Carlon’s Latin flavored “Time In,” the program includes a tight version on the Harburg/Lane classic “That Old Devil Moon” as well as the exciting “Wights Waits For Weights.” It may have been 20 years since their last recording, but Pocket Jungle works together just as though it was yesterday.

Tim Ferguson Inside/Out – Hold That Thought!

Tim Ferguson Inside/Out is a trio with a sound all its own. Ferguson plays bass and he is joined by Rob Henke on trumpet and alto horn and Diane Moser on piano for Hold That Thought!, an album released earlier this month. The instrumentation of the trio is usual, and their sound is anything but the kind of standard fare of the conventional jazz ensemble.

Of the nine pieces on the disc, two are complete improvisations, five are original compositions by members of the trio and a couplethe opening number, “Silence” by Charlie Haden, and the closer, “You” by Mal Waldronare band favorites. It is an interesting repertoire that has the band playing delicately filigreed ballads interspersed with a bit of swing built on  a blues base that wanders between the nocturnal (“A Drink and A Cigarette”) and the wickedly witty (“One For Mal”). The interaction between piano and horn is constantly inventive. The instrumental combination may take some getting used to; it’s original and it works.

Grecco Buratto – Essas Coisas Todas   

Latin Grammy nominee for production Grecco Buratto makes his solo album debut with Essas Coisas Todas, a collection of 14 original Brazilian pop tunes heavy on high-end production values. Individual tracks feature the talented singer with Brazilian nights in his voice, singing with everything from a small combo to a string orchestra.

Since all the songs are in Portuguese a non-speaker like myself can’t speak to their content. There is Buratto’s website description of the album as “a meditation on Love, the existential questions in each one of us and the beauty of being human,” and certainly from the intensity of his performance this would appear to make sense. Whether it is indeed accurate, is a judgment I can’t make.

There is one judgment I can make. Grecco Buratto is steeped in the traditions of Brazilian music and he has produced an album that takes those traditions and makes them audience friendly and contemporary.

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About Jack Goodstein

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