Rodrigo Ferrari Nunes,
The Bias Project
(Elegiax, 2005)

The Bias Project begins with a 1960s-style homage to such greats as John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus and Bill Evans. The first song, "Fables of Faubus" (Mingus), takes the listener through a riotous romp of horns, piano and joyous improvisational melody. Rodrigo Ferrari Nunes is not only a composer, producer, bass player and a student of anthropology, but also an artist that does not limit himself to playing it safe.

Nunes was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and was exposed to a number of different musical traditions and styles since he was quite young. With this early exposure to so many artists and styles, as well as the influence of his father, a scholar, Nunes reflects his innate skills in music, a knowledge of English, passion for and success in anthropology and the classics in North America at the University of British Columbia, and a desire to study, teach, compose and expose others to the world of Brazilian music, as well as music from other culture.

"Giant Steps" (Coltrane) has a more Latin beat with a flair and bounce that implies the instruments are throwing down musical notes as a challenge to a fight, albeit one among good friends. Interestingly, the CD concludes with "Giant Steps, Take 2" (also Coltrane) and leaves the listener with the raspy, joyous horn notes of a master, playing off the quiet current of a river of sound from piano, drums and bass that serve as a strong counterpoint to the second song, which is quite cleverly, "Giant Steps."

"Up Jumped Spring" (Freddie Hubbard) is lilting, mellow, harmonic and full of strong horn, piano, bass and drums, and is sweet without being cloying. Its richness reminds one of how spring starts out slowly and gradually and finally yields to the magnificence of summer and other delights.

Sandro Haick, a very close associate and mentor to Nunes, is one of the great unknown Brazilian musicians, and beautifully plays his composition, "Marmaleda." Haick is a multi-instrumentalist on drums, semi-acoustic guitars, Fender Rhodes and both acoustic piano and melodica. This particular piece is lush and smooth, with overtones of a tropical night where love and passion are in the air.

Nunes, along with Haick, Vinicius Dorin, Pepe Rodriquez, Daniel D'Aleantara and Cuca Teixeira, play a great variety of instruments, and songs from primarily Norte Americano artists, and they improvise with flair and passion. On The Bias Project, Nunes shares the commonality we can have in loving music for its promise and universality.

[ visit the artist's website ]

music review by
Ann Flynt

20 November 2010

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