Tania Maria Quartet
(Tania Maria Website)
Blue Note Records CD Release Intimidade
(Read about This CD)
Tania Maria on Piano, Vocals, Electric Keyboard
Rick Sebastian on Drums
Sergio Brandao on Bass
Mestre Carneiro on Percussion
131 West 3rd Street at Sixth Ave.
General Manager: Tom Bailey
Media Contact: Jonathan Kantor
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
August 22, 2006
In a beige-brown silk outfit and gold-strap shoes, Tania Maria, a seasoned pianist-vocalist in great form, took the stage at Blue Note and sat down at the Bösendorfer (courtesy of Bösendorfer New York). I had last seen her at Blue Note many, many years ago. The band this time was Rick Sebastian on drums, Sergio Brandao on bass, and Mestre Carneiro on percussion. Ms. Maria told jokes and anecdotes to warm up her fans in this opening night second set. She immediately broke into a samba, fast and furious, with congas, drums, and electric bass all generating hot Brazilian jazz. The energy was infectious, and I immediately noticed the clarity and cheer in Ms. Maria’s rich voice. Mestre Carneiro’s exotic percussion added to the Carnivale ambiance. Ms. Maria let out a yelping, “Ay, ay, ayee!” The next piece was slower and sultry, with strong rhythms on Rick Sebastian’s drums. Sergio Brandao switched to acoustic bass, a small narrow one, and duo percussion ensued with a tiny tambourine and brushes. The song ended in a whisper.
The Bösendorfer was like another band member, so replete with expression and individuality. Ms. Maria infused a pop sound, melodic and singable. The drums built in volume as the bass built in rhythm. Soon Ms. Maria stood at the electric keyboard, and her red, curly hair and pink eyeglasses added to her colorful persona. The funky music was enhanced with understated congas and emphatic drums. Soon the congas went wild, and Ms. Maria returned to the Bösendorfer to end the piece. Low driven chords in dissonant, disco style preceded another riff at the electric keyboard. Ms. Maria’s Portuguese scat was sensational. Her next number was reminiscent of her earlier recordings, smooth and charged. The small tambourine, added to bass and drums, accompanied the electric keyboard, as Ms. Maria danced in place. This was a very hot piece, like roaring Rio. Ms. Maria drew her audience in at this point in repetitive, nonsense sounds, that went on and on like a human drum.
The audience participation continued into the next number, as clapping was encouraged as added percussion. A wild Brazilian Samba, danceable and driven, generated a full conga solo, pulsating and powerful. Mestre Carneiro’s congas added pizzazz, before two riffs - Sergio Brandao’s solo bass and Rick Sebastian’s solo drums. When Tania Maria took a break, the audience hummed the theme a cappella to the drums. The audience carried this theme for up to two dozen refrains, before Ms. Maria seized her moment. As a finale, Ms. Maria was back on piano and keyboard, and the full congas took off. Brazilian music aficionados were in attendance, and this song was a request. It was romantic, a slow samba, rich and flowing. Tania Maria’s piano solos took on meaning and momentum. I certainly hope I won’t have to wait years and years to see Tania Maria in performance at Blue Note again. I plan to buy her new CD, Intimidade. Check www.bluenotejazz.com for current and upcoming events at Blue Note. Tell them you saw them on RobertaOnTheArts.com.