Kenney Polson | Colors of Brazil Review
By: Griff Stevens
Saxophonist Kenney Polson has consistently released albums as a leader that range from smooth jazz to contemporary to jazz stylings. Polson’s latest endeavor, Colors of Brazil, finds him reminiscing about his years spent living in Rio de Janeiro, and most notably in the Ipanema neighborhood for five years. Four tracks were recorded in Brazil and six in the United States. Polson’s brand of jazz and funk mixed with his Brazilian cohorts melds together an intoxicating spin on Brazilian rhythms. Polson is an artist that paints with a broad musical brush also incorporated Leni Stern, known widely for her world releases, added guitar, and African nGnoni. L.A. harpist Mariea Antoinette ornaments two tracks, and Dr. Osamu Kitajima and Mitsuki Dazai play Japanese koto on five tracks. The result is a distinctly international listen.
“Aquarela Do Brazil” opens Colors of Brazil, the Ary Barroso melody is given an excellent arrangement by Polson, and the band performs the music with emotion and soul. Leni Stern adds her smart guitar playing to the track. Polson’s saxophone shares the space with ocean and nature sounds as the relaxed Latin groove builds beneath him. The horn hits add a sophisticated layer to the arrangement and the bridge has excellent counterpoint writing. Stern’s playing matches the tunes relaxed and mellow vibe as she builds her lines up the neck of the guitar with well-placed bends. Polson’s fills and variations during the outro are beautiful and add to the music’s appeal.
Mesmerized (Hipnotizado) is a Polson original composition with a hip, light Latin jazz-rock feel and happy melody. Polson cleverly begins with a catchy riff developed with an awakening to many possibilities of joy and musical explorations. Polson’s solo is passionate and buoyant over Fernando Rosa’s bass and Elcio Cafaro’s drums. The melody and solo inspire a glorious feeling that stirs the dream of emerging in a playful Latin music landscape.
Colors of Brazil presents music with a deep soul to unwind to after a day’s work. Polson’s choice of melodies and players provides a tuneful journey of musical explorations. The Brazil theme codifies by combining the stylistic elements that make this music so passionate and lively. Polson builds on informed talent to conceive and execute the music to present an orderly and understandable project.
Release Date: December 23, 2020
Label: Rosetta Records 2020