Street Date: January 17, 2020
Label: Origin Recordas
Consummate flutist Andrea Brachfeld pays tribute to legendary Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim on Brazilian Whispers, Brachfeld’s debut release for Origin Records out on January 17. This gleaming new release, Brachfeld’s ninth release as a bandleader, was inspired by the Brazilian music scene in New York City where the artist has resided for five decades. The date features Brachfeld’s working band Insight, with the flutist’s long time colleague, pianist Bill O’Connell who, along with Brachfeld, co-wrote several songs on the album. The rest of the ensemble is made up of bassist Harvie S and drummer Jason Tiemann. Guitarist Roni Ben-Hur, percussionist Chembo Corniel and drummer Portinho and bassist Lincoln Goines are guest artists on the CD. Half of this release is augmented by the stellar rhythm section of electric bassist Lincoln Goines, and Portinho, arguably the most important drummer in contemporary Brazilian music. Roni Ben-Hur and Chembo Corniel play on compositions throughout the CD with both rhythm sections.
Brachfeld has already made her mark on the realms of jazz and Afro-Cuban music over the course of her 40+ year career as a staple in Wallace Roney’s Universe Orchestra, the Slide Hampton Big Band and Charanga ’76. On her foray into Brazilian jazz, Brazilian Whispers, the bandleader decided to go straight to the source and honor the ‘father of bossa nova’, Antonio Carlos Jobim. “My main concept was choosing songs that I love and that just felt right to me. Basically I listened to a lot of Jobim songs and the ones that I really liked are the ones that we recorded” exclaimed Brachfeld. This incendiary release solidifies Brachfeld’s place in the modern jazz pantheon. She puts her spin on Jobim classics “Waters of March“, “Girl From Ipanema” and “Ligia“, among others, and demonstrates her compositional prowess on three Brazilian-spirited original songs that were co-written with frequent collaborator Bill O’Connell: “Espaço Aberto“, “Sonhos e Cores” and “Triste e Solitaria“.
The release begins with Jobim’s waltz “Double Rainbow”. The group provides a laid-back, ethereal soundscape over which Brachfeld’s melodies float with ease and grace, followed by earthy guitar and Fender Rhodes solos before returning to the theme for a soft landing. The cohesiveness of this ensemble is unparalleled. “We’ve been playing together for almost three years now”, notes Brachfeld, “and I feel like there’s been real progress towards us deepening musically as a quartet and becoming more of a unit. There’s also been a kind of spiritual growth which is reflected in the music and I’m really happy about that.”
The flutist credits “O’Connell’s genius” for coming up with the idea to play “Waters Of March” (Aguas De Marco), over Harvie S’s walking bass and Jason Tiemann’s shuffle rhythm that provides a pulsating underpinning for soulfully swinging flute and piano solos. “The samba medley,” Brachfeld reflects, “I kind of pulled together in the studio. I was thinking of recording a lot of different traditional rhythms so I did extensive research. Then the night before the recording these three tunes came together as a medley and it was perfect. Roni really helped with that because he had some of the music and I didn’t have to explain much of the concept when we recorded it with Roni playing perfectly on the guitar and Portinho playing the amazing accompaniment on the drums. It was just what I wanted.”
Brachfeld noted that she recorded ‘Never Let Me Go’ as an homage to the great Roy Hargrove, the world-renowned young trumpeter who passed away in 2018. “I heard a recording of him playing it and I thought it was so gorgeous, I just loved it” the flutist indicated. She switches to alto flute for this wistful, contemplative track dedicated to a man who left the planet far too soon.
The album concludes with two compositions by Brachfeld and O’Connell. The first, “Triste e Solitaria”, (Sad and Lonely), features O’Connell on Fender Rhodes in a moving excursion that lives up to its title. Brazilian Whispersends with “Espaço Aberto” (Open Space) a bright tempoed samba highlighting the ensemble’s stunning instrumental facility.
More About the Artist:
Flutist, composer, arranger, producer, educator, business owner, Andrea Brachfeld, is a graduate of the High School of Music and Art and the Manhattan School of Music.
She has recorded nine CDs as a leader with music spanning from Latin Jazz to Charanga Jazz, to Jazz and devotional music. Some of the guest artists who have recorded on her CDs include Wallace Roney, Rufus Reid, Wycliffe Gordon, Mike Longo, Paul West, Winard Harper, Bill O’ Connell, Oscar Hernandez, Steve Turre, Pedrito Martinez, and Hilton Ruiz among others.
In June 2017, Andrea was awarded a grant from the prestigious organization, Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, to compose a new jazz work. Her newest jazz CD, “If Not Now, When? ” was released on Jazzheads in May of 2018. Andrea currently tours with her own group, Andrea Brachfeld and Insightfeaturing Bill O’ Connell, Harvie S and Jason Tiemann and Bill O’ Connell and ACE- the Afro-Caribbean Ensemble.
RAUL DA GAMA
LATIN JAZZ NETWORK
"While everything delights enormously, make no mistake, it is the mellifluous timbres of Miss Brachfeld’s flutes that beguiles more than anything else as she sashays her way through this material that ends with two remarkable “original” works – “Triste e Solitaria” and “Espaço Aberto” – composed in the uniquely Brasilian manner on this truly memorable album." Read the full review here.
GEORGE W. HARRIS
"Andrea Brachfeld plays flute and the darker alto flute set to a collection of Brazilian themes dominated by Antonio Jobim." Review here
DEE DEE MCNEIL
"Although Andrea Brachfeld is no newcomer to recording, this is her first project dedicated to the music of Brazil."
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
"Whether dealing in introspection or cresting waves of exhilaration, Brachfeld's flutes manage to capture the ineffable qualities of Brazilian beauty in its many forms."
For Brazilian Whispers, veteran flutist Andrea Brachfeld dives deep into the Jobim book, turning out fresh interpretations of familiar gems. Review here.
LONDON JAZZ NEWS
"In all, this is a record which features a lot of great music and a lot of great musicians. Brachfeld and O’Connell, the common denominators, have done an admirable job of arranging Jobim’s music in fresh and innovative ways, as well as writing originals which draw heavily on the Brazilian tradition but also bring in influences from modal and straight-ahead jazz." Review here.
"A wonderful snapshot from the sunny side of life." Read the full review here.
C. MICHAEL BAILEY
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
"Brazilian Whispers is an exceptional Bossa Nova instrumental recording, well conceived and executed." Read the full review here.
LATINO MUSIC CAFE
"These talented musicians performed like a well-oiled machine to produce music that transports you south to the land of the caipirinha." Review here.
"Like the Brachfeld/O’Connell original “Triste E Solitaria,” it’s built on an enviable poise that reveals deeper interests, while still being informally entertaining." Review here.
ROOTS MUSIC REPORT
"After years of hard work and dedication to her art, Andrea has released Brazilian Whispers and the resulting album is one of the most upbeat and positive albums of Brazilian flavored instrumental jazz music in recent memory." Review here.
"This is the long-established New Yorker's first foray into works by the father of bossa nova, and it's as seamless as one might expect from a woman whose four-decade career includes eight albums under her own name and sessions for a veritable who's who of Latin jazzers from D'Rivera to Puente." Read the full review here.