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Phil DeGreg & Brasilia: Brazilian People

- CD Reviews

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Phil DeGreg & Brasilia: Brazilian People
2014: Prevenient Music

Phil DeGreg on Piano
Kim Pensyl on Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Rusty Burge on Vibraphone
Aaron Jacobs on Bass
John Taylor on Drums on Percussion
Bruno Mangueira on Guitar

Kim Pensyl, Recording, Mixing, Editing, Mastering
Bill Gwynne, Recording


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
September 10, 2015

This CD is a selection of Brazilian-styled tunes by renowned Brazilian composers, as well as by members of Phil DeGreg’s ensemble, called Brasilia. Composers include Antonio Carlos Jobim, Hermeto Pascoal, Edu Lobo, João Donato, and Marcos Silva, as well as ensemble members. The collective sound is a fusion of Brazilian Samba, contemporary Jazz, and smooth listening music. Phil DeGreg, pianist, has brought along Kim Pensyl on trumpet and flugelhorn, Rusty Burge on vibraphone, Aaron Jacobs on bass, John Taylor on drums and percussion, and Bruno Mangueira on guitar. Each of the ten tracks is unique and engaging, some with mostly Samba, some with a bit of Bossa, and some with an eclectic mix.

Notable tracks:

#3 – Fresh Biscuits – Composed by Rusty Burge. This piece opens with an enchanting, undulating vibraphone, followed by flugelhorn, piano, and soft drum flourish. Composer, Mr. Burge is the ensemble’s vibraphonist. Mr. DeGreg takes the theme forward on piano, followed by Mr. Pensyl on flugelhorn, then piano again, followed by Mr. Jacobs on bass. Mr. Taylor’s drums are supportive and understated, but keep the tempo lively. The ensemble created a blended fascinating finale.

#4 – Ano Novo – Composed by Bruno Mangueira. Composer, Mr. Mangueira is the ensemble’s guitarist (on this and one other piece), and he fittingly opens the track, followed by flugelhorn, drum cymbals, vibraphone, piano, and bass, with a languid melody ensuing. Mr. Mangueira’s guitar talent is showcased in the original theme, with Mr. Pensyl’s flugelhorn bringing it to a rapid, yearning variation. Mr. DeGreg’s piano variation is brief but filled with ebullient rhythms, as is Mr. Burge’s vibraphone variation. This is a tune about the New Year, and it evokes an upbeat celebration.

#5 – Brazilian People – Composed by Marcos Silva. This composition by Silva is fast and breezy, opening with rushing piano trills, buoyed by drums and bass, soon followed by a vivacious vibraphone melody. A muted trumpet appears midway in the track with a jazzy, fervent tempo. Latin clavé drums infuse tropical imagery, along with lively piano, vibes, and bass. Rio, here we come.

#10 – Triste – Composed by A. C. Jobim. Piano, drums, and bass open this almost, ten-minute track with echoing, syncopated refrains. Jobim’s theme is performed in full Brazilian Samba rhythms, thanks to tropical percussion that evokes Carnivale, along with a featured vibraphone gone wild. Mr. Pensyl, on rambunctious trumpet, adds electricity to this lively, gorgeous track. This is truly a talented ensemble, and the album is one you’ll want to listen to time after time, for its infectious, joyful aura. If you can’t make it to Carnivale, Brazilian People will bring you there; just close your eyes.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at