JAZZ & BLUES MAGAZINE
by Ron Weinstock
Brazilian guitarist-composer-arranger Sergio Pereira will delight listeners with his new release, wholly steeped in the sounds of samba and bossa nova. Sergio was initially inspired to play guitar by his brother. he was later influenced by the music of bossa-nova giants at the time, such as Joao Gilberto, Tom Jobim, Carlos Lyra, Joao Donato, Marcos Valle, and Toninho Horta, while later following American guitarists such as Pat Metheny, Lee Ritenour, and Patrick Ford. This present album, co-produced by Pereira and Mauricio Zottarelli, was recorded during the pandemic,
with Pereira laying down his parts at his home in Spain.
At the same time, the other musicians would send their parts from Brazil, New York, and other places. The 21 other instrumentalists and vocalists include pianist Helio Alves, bassist Mark Egan, harmonica player Gabriel Grossi, singer Filó Machado, saxophonist David Mann, vibraphonist Christos Rafalides, singer Paula Santoro, guitarist Marcus Texeira, bassist André Vasconcellos,
and drummer Mauricio Zottarell. Pereira wrote 9 of the ten tracks (two in collaboration with others), and the remaining track is a Henry Mancini composition.
One must be impressed by the seamless quality of the recorded performances that do not sound like they were pieced together. There is a lilting, breezy quality to the performances here, starting with “White Lion” with its energetic percussion with Pereira’s playing suggesting to these ears George Benson of “Breezin’.” Alves’ piano and Rodrigo Ursaia’s flute add to the charm here.
It is followed by the lively samba, “Morning Mist,” with bassist Paulo Paulelli and drummer Zottarelli providing a relaxed yet zestful groove. Paulo Santoro sings delightfully on the cheery “Samba de Outuno,” where Pereira overdubs his solo.
The title track has a dreamy tone before Filó Mach- ado’s vocal with Egan soloing and Christos Rafalides’ vibes adding to the performance’s flavor that lives up to its title. Pereira himself takes the vocal on “Quase 9,” a composition inspired by the Rio beach he used to hang out at. Ralph Moore takes a lyrical alto sax solo here. “Give Me 5” showcases Gabriel Grossi’s skilled chromatic harmonica playing in the manner of the legendary Toots Thielemans. Pereira’s engaging singing is also present on the effervescent “Desfilandoa Vitoria,” with a horn section (with brassy solos) along with the relaxed yet driving rhythm section.
The variety in music here is displayed by the mellow feel of “Let It Out,” with Pereira’s wordless vocal and a brief soprano sax solo from former Tower of Power member David Mann. There is almost a reggae feel from the Brazilian rhythm called xote on “Frio Lugar,” which features accordionist Vitor Gonçalves. A delightful trio rendition of Henry Mancini’s “Dreamsville” with Pereira’s splendid, genial playing is the finale on a marvelously performed and thoroughly engaging Brazilian jazz recording.