Coffee, Sugar And More
Bruce Von Stiers
Flavio Lira is a native of Brazil. The guitarist moved to Boston in 2013 and took up roots in the music community there. Finally basing himself in New York, Flavio has garnered critical praise for his style of Brazilian flavored jazz music.
Flavio’s latest project in an album titled Coffee Gold Sugar Cane. It features a cross section of cool jazz, Columbian folk music, Cuban clave and slick Brazilian grooves.
The album has twelve songs and a play time of fifty-three minutes. It was produced by Flavio and released on the Interrobang Records label. Several of the songs on the album were composed by Flavio.
Flavio plays bass guitar on all but one song on the album. On that song he played a standard guitar. He also provided vocals on one song.
Although Flavio is listed as the artist on the album, he had a lot of help. In fact, he recruited close to forty people to perform on the album with him. These artists represent a lot of great talent over a wide swath of musical styles. Edmar Colon is on alto and bari saxes. Ryan Fedak is on vibraphone. Anibal Cruz plays piano on a couple of songs and electric piano on a couple of more. Kan Yanube plays the clave, cajon, tamborim, pandeiro, caxixi, triangle, frame drum and kanyira. Takfumi Nikaido is on congas and cajon. Graciliano Zambonin is the drummer for the entire album. Anggie Obin plays flute for a few songs. Juan Ruiz does the alto and soprano saxes as well as clarinet. The trumpeters were Jon Weidley and Yuare Muniz. On trombone were Yoshie Nakayama and Xito Lovell. Other performers on the album were Martin Musaubach, Julio Santos, Howard Levy, Keven Scollins, Eduardo Mecuri, Ferando Saci, Livo Almeida, Vitor Goncalves, Paul Sanchez, Clay Steininger, Thiago VItorio, Laura Crespo, Alexei Tsiganov, Fernando Brandao, Ronaldo Andrade, Keiel Jimenez and Bruno Brandalise. Nella Rojas provided the vocals on one song and backing vocals on another. And Valentine Komissarouk provided vocals for two songs.
5to9 is a nice groove tune. It has some slick sax and vibraphone mixed in with other instruments to make this a very cool piece. It is the first song on the album.
The Jerome Kern song All the Things You Are has been recorded by greats such as Ella Fitzgerald. I have heard several times over time with slightly different styling. But I had never heard the song done with a mild salsa styling as it is on this album. The vocals are also done in Spanish. They are superbly sung by Nella Rojas.
Sol no Frio is another solid groove with great trumpet.
Cumbamba begins with an interesting harmonica solo. Things move into a subtle, toe tapping beat.
Pra Frente has a soft samba tone with terrific vocals by Valentine Komissarouk.
Laurinha no Frevo is a light, fast paced, smile effecting piece. Listening to it, I envisioned a classic film scene where the female romantic lead is racing through a bazaar, grabbing things like hats, trying them on, putting them back and then gleefully running away from the male romantic lead.
A Ra is a cool, Latin influenced piece with a lot of horn music up in front.
Flavio and his group do a nice rendition of the Jobim song Favela.
Valentine Komissarouk once again provides some vocals. This time it is for a piece with a lot of subtle guitar titled Still in Movement.
Moving things back to a faster pace is a flute and piano piece titled Floripa By Night.
A fast, toe-tapping beat can be found in Via La, Vai La. Ronaldo Andrade and Keisel Jimenez do vocals for the song.
The album concludes with a nice salsa dance styled tune titled Bass Fugue.
Growing up, the only Brazilian artist I was aware of was Antonio Jobim. And I only knew about him because of his song, Girl From Ipanema. But over the years I heard more of the Brazilian style of jazz and learned to appreciate it. And I definitely appreciated the style of music on this album. Although this isn’t strictly a Brazilian flavored jazz album, that style can be heard throughout the album.
Coffee Gold Sugar Cane has been out for a bit so you should be able to find it at most music outlets.
To find out more about the album and Flavio Lira, visit www.flaviolira.com .