Rodrigo Ferrari Nunes | Bias Project #1

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Bias Project #1

by Rodrigo Ferrari Nunes

A Brazilian Tribute to the music of John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, Charlie Parker, Freddie Hubbard, Bill Evans and Hermeto Pascoal. With Sandro Haick, Vinicius Dorin, Daniel D'Alcântara, Cuca Teixeira & Pepe Rodriguez.
Genre: Jazz: Latin Jazz
Release Date: 

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1. Fables of Faubus (Charles Mingus)
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7:10 $0.50
2. Giant Steps (John Coltrane)
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5:37 $0.50
3. Mr. P.C. (John Coltrane)
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6:21 $0.50
4. Peggy's Blue Skylight (Charles Mingus)
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5:07 $0.50
5. Marmelada (Sandro Haick)
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6:51 $0.30
6. Donna Lee (Charlie Parker)
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5:22 $0.50
7. Up Jumped Spring (Freddie Hubbard)
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7:44 $0.50
8. Quatro de Setembro (Hermeto Pascoal)
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7:19 $0.30
9. 26-2 (John Coltrane)
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5:18 $0.50
10. Time Remembered (Bill Evans)
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7:15 $0.50
11. Giant Steps - take 2 (John Coltrane)
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4:53 $0.50
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Led by composer, producer, bass player, and anthropologist Rodrigo Ferrari Nunes (M.A., UBC 2010), the Bias Project #1 is a 'Brazilian' tribute to great composers and improvisers of the jazz past such as Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, and Bill Evans. Two original tracks by contemporary Brazilian composers Hermeto Pascoal and Sandro Haick are also featured with the purpose of revealing beforehand the future directions in which Rodrigo’s music is evolving, since this is a project meant to link the common multicultural roots that have influenced the players that have been cherry-picked to participate in this celebration.

The principal criteria behind Rodrigo’s mind while making his production choices were a strong desire to help expose to a larger audience the musical richness of the São Paulo instrumental scene, the possession of rhythmic and melodic inventiveness by the players, personality and original uniqueness, ease and effortlessness soloing over and navigating advanced chord changes. Another very important ideological imperative guiding this project is the absolute independence from any so-called “guidance” provided by outside people such as record company executives or marketeers. The musicians themselves are making every single decision in this very complex production - from recording techniques and arrangements to mixing.
Several instruments and different players are featured apart from Rodrigo on 6-string electric basses: tenor, alto and soprano saxophones come to life through the hands of Vinicius Dorin, a member of Grammy nominated Mantiqueira Big Band, and also of the Hermeto Pascoal group for over a decade, having performed in several international Jazz festivals throughout the World for over more than 30 years of his professional career.
Multi-instrumentalist Sandro Haick, Rodrigo’s closest associate and musical mentor, virtually unknown to the American public, an improvisational and compositional genius, is featured in several tracks on drums, semi-acoustic guitars, fender rhodes, acoustic piano and melodica.
On flugelhorn and trumpet, the Bias Project #1 features the experienced young lion Daniel D’Alcântara, described by a recent reviewer as demonstrating “the depth of his talent”, with “mellifluous effect” and displaying, “through changes of meter and mood with cup muting, triple tonguing straight-ahead force”.
Cuban-born and graduated pianist and percussionist Pepe Rodriguez adds yet another rhythmic and melodic dimension to this coherent Latin mix, with mesmerising performances both as lead pianist is most tunes, and as a drummer in Sandro Haick’s tune “Marmelada”. Another special guest feature is master Brazilian drummer Cuca Teixeira, an experienced multi-style drummer with 2 best-selling instructional drum videos, who is currently touring with Elis Regina’s daughter Maria Rita.


Reviews


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Edward Blanco

Some of the most blistering straight ahead groove jazz to emerge this year
Brazilian-born phenomenon bassist and composer Rodrigo Ferrari-Nunes debuts his first instrumental recording with this gem of an album containing ten tracks of some of the most blistering straight ahead groove jazz to emerge this year. Dedicated to legends of jazz, the project pays tribute to the music of Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Freddie Hubbard and Bill Evans. Rodrigo also includes two fine charts from contemporary Brazilian composers Hermeto Pascoal and Sandro Haick.


With the exception of Cuban-born pianist and percussionist Pepe Rodriguez, this sextet is all Brazilian. You have the leader playing a six-string bass, Vinicius Dorin on the reeds, Daniel D’ Alcantara on the horns, drummer Cuca Teixeira and Sandro Haick on guitar, Rhodes, piano and the melodica. If you’re expecting to hear typical samba, you’ll be quite disappointed because the music here is contemporary straight ahead bebop jazz with an exclamation point.

The group sets the charts on fire right from the opening Mingus tune “Fables of Faubus,” and continues with two helpings of Coltrane’s “Giant Steps.” Tenorist Dorin is a wild man playing exceptional solo shouts every where but none as impressive as on “Mr. P.C.,” Coltrane would have been proud. Multi-instrumentalist Haick also shines on this disc leaving his mark on his “Marmelada” playing piano and melodica. Not to be left out, Rodrigo weighs in with a solid performance on Parker’s classic “Donna Lee.”

There so much good material here that I could go on and on. In final appraisal of this effort, I would have to conclude that this is one of the best pure jazz albums I’ve had the pleasure of listening to. The Bias Project is indeed an impressive and compelling debut.

Sari N. Kent

High-Octane Rhythms and Slow Deep Jams
Rodrigo Ferrari-Nunes - Bias Project #1
- A musical wizard doing what he does best is the only way to describe “Bias Project #1” by Rodrigo Ferrari-Nunes. Whether you are a lover of high-octane rhythms or slow deep jams, this album has it all and is guaranteed not to disappoint. The first track has piano and what might be the trumpet for a song that will make listeners stop whatever they are doing and dance. The second track has unreal drum play along with percussion for a chic song. The third track is a snappy one with more piano work, cymbals and what could be the saxophone for a sharp jazz twist. The fourth track has heavy drumming but it is so well enacted that it doesn’t depreciate the dance beat of the song. The fifth song slows things down significantly with detailed notes and out-and-out magnificence. Nearly every song on this album could be used on ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars” and the professional dancers would only enrich that fantastic work that is portrayed on “Bias Project #1” by Rodrigo Ferrari-Nunes.

Bill Donaldson - JazzImprov Magazine, Vol. 6 No.1

Musical Insight and Telepathic Camaraderie
Brazilian samba and bossa nova have had an obvious influence on American music, and specifically on jazz. But the river of influence flows both ways.

Bassist Rodrigo Ferrari-Nunes has received the spirit of Charles Mingus, as have most other bassists of the succeeding generation. In addition, John Coltrane has instilled no small measure of excitement among the members of the Rodrigo Ferrari Project. As have Freddie Hubbard, Bill Evans and Charlie Parker.

The Rodrigo Ferrari Project has taken some of these jazz legends’ signature compositions and not much transformed them as updated them. Nary a 2/2 samba feel infuses the music of Bias Project #1 (so named to describe Ferrari’s belief that quantity and not quality governs jazz projects “in a profit driven world”). Instead, the musicians of the Rodrigo Ferrari project feel, and play, in the unclassifiable realms of some of the milestones of late twentieth-century jazz. Even so, they add their own twists, not intimidated by the jazz classics and not imitating them, but instead having fun with them as they infuse the music with their own enthusiasm.

On “Donna Lee”, Ferrari himself takes the first chorus, snapping each of the fleeting notes with precise articulation and a buoyant ring before guitarrist Sandro Haick comes in for the second chorus. And so, “Donna Lee” rather than being solely a saxophone showcase, becomes an improvisational opportunity for stringed instruments as well, even though alto saxophonist Vinicius Dorin does playy with all due vigor in the middle of the piece, as well as joining Ferrari for a unison concluding statement.

On many of the other tracks, trumpeter Daniel D’Alcântara sets the atmosphere, especially on, of course, “Up Jumped Spring”, which he plays with mellifluous effect on flugelhorn, his phrasing fluid and the mood lilting. On the Mingus pieces, however, D’Alcântara shows the depth of his talent when he nails the wails and the “organized slop,” as Mingus called it, on “Fables of Faubus,” D’Alcântara’s strength in reshaping the piece emerges through changes of meter and mood with cup muting, triple tonguing straight-ahead force. Dorin takes the lead on several tunes as well, particularly in those in tribute to Coltrane. like other members of the Project, Dorin adapts the music to his own personality. As a result, “Giant Steps” proceeds as a light swing, rather than a more aggressive approach bordering on stream of consciousness, as he plays it with rich legato lines, his notes swelling for emphasis. On the other hand, “Mr. P.C.” is taken at a faster tempo than normal, and Dorin infuses it with a prodding forward motion that, conversely to his approach on “Giant Steps,” stirs up a frenzy and thus some thrilling moments.

Multi-instrumentalist Haick, who also serves as sound engineer, gets his moment on Bias Project #1 when he plays his own composition “Marmelada” on both piano and melodica, the swirling melodic texture driven unobtrusively on cymbal by drummer/pianist Pepe Rodriguez.

The Rodrigo Ferrari Project claims immediate and then extended attention throughout Bias Project #1 as its members, through musical insight and telepathic camaraderie, cast fresh perspectives on jazz classics we’ve heard many times before as re-creations of the originals. However, these Brazilian musicians, thoroughly infused by the feelings inherent in the music, have fun with it, heightening its spirit, while remeining absolutely respectful of the jazz legends that brought it to life in the first place.