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Charlie Dennard: From Brazil to New Orleans

- CD Reviews

Charlie Dennard: From Brazil to New Orleans

Piano/Hammond Organ/Accordion/Percussion
Fender Rhodes/Melodica/Synthesizer: Charlie Dennard

Drums: Gerald French, Doug Belote
Saxes/Flutes: Brent Rose, Ray Moore
Trombones: Rick Trolsen
Trumpet/Flugelhorn: Eric Lucero
Guitar/Bansuri Flute: Josh Geisler
Guitars: Scott Meyers, Rick Musallam, Brian Seeger, Steve Masakovski
Bass Clarinet: Jason Mingledorf
Bass: Tommy Sciple
Bass/Sousaphone: Matt Perrine
Percussion: James Mack, Michael Skinkus, Billy Hulting
Recorder: Annette Bauer
Cello: Jack Craft
Vocals: Tatiana Parra


Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
July 23, 2014

All compositions produced and arranged by Charlie Dennard.

This is a mesmerizing collection of new arrangements by Charlie Dennard of Brazilian, fused with New Orleans, compositions. The expansive list of instrumental contributors is above. It speaks for itself, as an eclectic and engaging ensemble on bass clarinet, sousaphone, recorder, Bansuri flute, flugelhorn, cello, vocals, Latin percussion, and the more traditional drums, bass, guitars, trombones, saxes, and flutes. Charlie Dennard performs on piano, Hammond organ, accordion, percussion, Fender Rhodes, melodica, and synthesizer. Even a triangle is listed. The music evokes marching bands on Bourbon Street, as well as Carnivale in Rio. Sometimes African and South American cultural infusions can be heard. This CD is one worthy of repeated listening, for relaxing and absorbing the slightly north- and south-of-the-border ambiance.

Notable tracks:

#2 –Capoeira Mata Um - Composed by Alvaro Castilho/De Castro. This tune is filled with upbeat rhythms on drums and percussion, with Mr. Dennard on Hammond organ, accordion, and melodica. Tremendous effort, from nine musicians, goes into each track for cultural, orchestral effects. A dark New Orleans club could be merging with a Brazilian samba party, and there’s jazz as well. The flute is especially lighthearted, while the organ added tonal depth.

#5 –Quando o Galo Cantar - Composed by Rafael Alterio/Rita Alterio. This track could be a marching band of ten musicians, with accordion, triangle, sousaphone, and brass featured. The percussion keeps the tempo dynamic, while the listening experience begs for a second time around. Exotic percussive and tonal effects enhance each refrain..

#8–Africa Mae - Composed by Rafael Alterio/Paulo Cesar Pinheiro. This more simplified composition features four musicians, mainly Mr. Dennard on Hammond organ. It’s a great sound, amplified by drums, guitar, and percussion. The rhythms are danceable and arranged for buoyant spirit. A vibrant drum-organ conversation soon blends into fused, smooth harmonies.

#9 –Ganga Zumbi - Composed by Sergio Santos/Paulo Cesar Pinheiro. Mr. Dennard, on synthesizer and piano, creates astounding new age music effects, very filmatic and atmospheric. Added to vocals in Portuguese, along with soprano sax and flute, this final track for seven musicians was one of my favorites. Flute and guitar were threaded within. This contemporary Brazilian piece finished the recording with flourish.

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