Jennifer Scott & Brasilieir
By Richard Samwell
Cellar Live – cellarlive.com
The music of modern Brazil is a vast subject and has developed out of a collision between European, Indigenous and African cultures. The first recorded instance of Jesuit priests teaching Indigenous people to play European instruments dates to 1549 and it seems like everybody in the country has been playing something ever since. Brazil probably has more styles of music in total than Canada has people.
Jennifer Scott is generally considered to be one of Canada’s best jazz singers and she is uniquely qualified to take on this release of all Brazilian material. She is an engaging contralto, her Portuguese sounds completely natural and she is also a piano player with an extensive discography. This release is her tenth CD and she has also appeared on four CBC CDs. She has had a long-standing interest in Brazilian music. She and her husband, bass player Rene Worst, are members of Ed Johnson & Novo Tempo; a San Francisco based eight piece with whom she has recorded three CDs of contemporary jazz with a Brazilian influence. Three of the songs on this CD are arrangements that she got from Johnson. She also met the Brazilian singer Elis Regina in Banff at the Jazz Workshop and covers two songs here, “Corrida de Jangada” and “Romaria,” that are associated with Regina. Scott has also performed with the Vancouver based Brazilian ensemble Fantazea and two of the arrangements here are developed from songs she performed with them. All of this is to say that she knows this music inside out and she certainly has the chops to sing it. Andrew Gilbert writing in the Seattle Times said, “she puts her stamp on material through her supple sense of swing and deft, slippery phrasing.” He wasn’t talking about this particular release, but he’s right anyway.
In addition to Scott, who also plays ukulele, and bass player Worst, the supporting musicians on this CD are Bill Coon on guitars and cavquinho, Cory Weeds on tenor saxophone, Nino DiPasquale on drums and percussion, and Pepe Danza on percussions and vocals. The musicians give her stellar support and the song selection is both interesting and diverse. Naturally most of the lyrics are in Portuguese, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t speak it. She will carry you along into understanding.