Pianist Roger Davidson’s repertory as a composer ranges from chamber music and symphonic and choral works to songs in Afro-Caribbean and Latin American styles, and from straight-ahead jazz to Klezmer music and children’s songs. Featuring eighteen original compositions, including bossa novas, sambas and chorinhos, Brazilian Love Song, is an exhilarating showcase for one of the most versatile composers in music today.
Roger Davidson, piano, compositions
Aaron Heick, sax
David Finck, bass
Paulo Braga, drums
Marivaldo Dos Santos, percussion
"Pianist Davidson has assembled a sweetly convincing group on BRAZILIAN LOVE SONG to play eighteen original compositions for a beautifully varied program. Davidson understands well—intuitively as well as prac- tically—that this might be a heavy burden for a mere CD to bear if the compositions were derivative of one another. Happily, they vary in tempo and mood as well as rhythmic underpinning, from bossa nova to samba to choro. And the CD’s programming shifts fluidly from one mode to another: a quintet performance, with Heick’s sweet saxophone soaring and murmuring, gives way to a piano-bass duet, then a trio featuring Finck’s bowed bass. So the listener never tires, and Davidson comes off splendidly not only as a composer with a variety of imaginative approaches, but also as a pianist with some rhapsodic tendencies, beautifully balanced by his strong unflagging rhythmic powers. And—for those groups needing eight to fifteen minutes to get something going—the longest selection on this disc is 4:27, and even the selections that are substantially briefer are full of melody and improvisation—Davidson’s visions are not only compact but deep and satisfying."
Jazz and bossa nova have had a torrid love affair for many years, it seemed they enjoyed each other’s musky aroma and found time to explore each other’s sonic cavities as if it meant everything in the world to them. It should. Brazilian Love Song (Soundbrush) is not only a great jazz album with love song featuring a Brazilian motif, but it is also Roger Davidson‘s way of affirming that torrid love affair with a pianist kiss.
The 18 songs here go back and forth from solo piano pieces to track with a band that feature Paulo Braga (drums), David Finck (bass), Marivaldo Dos Santos (percussion), and Aaron Heick (saxophone). The quintet join forces to color the picture many have only imagined but a select few have seen and experienced for themselves. They are songs about love and romance: physical, sensual, and emotional, all done without ever going overboard. An example of this is “Ritmo das Flores”, where Davidson sounds as if he’s having a conversation with his musicians while flirting with the beauty of the land he speaks of.
This music is very smooth, like a Brazilian, and you will want to explore that smoothness until the first proof of hair comes through.
Review By John Book
Remember back in the 1960s when the term 'bossa nova' seemed to haunt every club and every relationship? American saxophonist Stan Getz and the Brazilian guitarist João Gilberto and vocalist Astrud Gilberto brought out 'The Girl from Ipanema' and the sound they produced influenced American minds strongly - and still does. Well, we have another infusion here. Classically trained pianist and composer Roger Davidson has absorbed that sound and transformed it into his own vary rich style. In this new album BRAZILIAN LOVE SONG he gathers his ensemble - Davidson himself on piano, with Paulo Braga , drums, David Fink bass, Aaron Heick, saxophone and Marivaldo Dos Santos , percussion - and takes the whole bossa nova mystique to another level.
The generous sampling of 18 songs (all composed by Davidson) range form the ecstatic to the most intimate Latin statements about the vagaries of the emotion of love. This is music to dance to, to sit and absorb in a quiet place, or to stir your emotions to overload. Davidson is such a fine pianist that he brings a security to his playing that passes genuinely to the other four of his quintet. Another very distinctive aspect of this successful album is the high quality of engineering and sound production courtesy of producer Pablo Aslan guiding Davidson's own significant music label called Soundbrush Records. This is the quality of sound usually lavished on classical recordings of both chamber ensembles and mighty orchestras but rarely heard with popular music. And that says a lot about this recording: it is top flight and Classy!
Review By Grady Harp
Sinatra/Jobim - The Complete Reprise Recordings - Concord Music
Roger Davidson Quintet - Brazilian Love Song (30 Years of Brazilian Music) - Soundbrush
I was taken back listening to this to the very earliest bossa nova jazz LPs from American performers.
Roger Davidson Quintet - Brazilian Love Song (30 Years of Brazilian Music) - Soundbrush SR 1018, 67:37 *****:
(Roger Davidson, pianist & composer; Paulo Braga, drums; David Finck, bass; Aaron Heick, sax; Marivaldo dos Santos, percussion; Produced by Pablo Aslan)
What a terrific couple of CDs of infectious Brazilian songs! The Frank Sinatra originals came out on two LPs - the first in 1967 and the later in 1969. Sinatra toned down his usual Live At the Sands style for a super-soft and intimate bossanova vocal sound in keeping with that of Jobim and his sensitive songs. Ogerman is one of the great arrangers and composers, and his string-heavy settings for Sinatra and Jobim are completely different from the usual Sinatra backing from Nelson Riddle and other bands. Sinatra said “I haven’t sung so soft since I had laryngitis,” but it makes for one of his most emjoyable albums. Great to have it again. And Jobim may be soft too, but at least he doesn’t sing off key as Astrud Gilberto did.
The remastering is excellent - these tracks could have been recorded last week. For some reason at the last minute Sinatra had called the Warner studio demanding they “kill the album.” A rare eight-track of the album which had already slipped out commanded $5000 in 2005. Seven of the nine tracks were eventually released on “Sinatra & Company” in 1971.
The Brazilian Songs CD was recorded in NYC last year, but it could have been done in Rio, with Argentine tango virtuoso Pablo Aslan producing it. It’s another great jazz session by performers imbued with the exciting bossa nova Brazilian sound. Most of the 18 tracks here will be less than familiar to most listeners, which also adds interest. I was taken back listening to this to the very earliest bossa nova jazz LPs from American performers - the Laurindo Almeida/Bud Shank session and of course the Charlie Byrd/Stan Getz ones.
Review By- John Henry
CD Review: http://www.audaud.com/article.php?ArticleID=8284
Roger Davidson's album Brazilian Love Song (Soundbrush 1018) is subtitled "30 Years of Brazilian Music." That is because it covers songs Roger Davidson has written between the years 1978-2008.
This is old-school bossa nova and samba jazz done by Davidson's quintet, which includes Davidson on piano plus percussion, drums, alto sax and acoustic bass. Davidson and altoist Aaron Heick turn in decent solos, and bassist David Finck can take some nice choruses with the bow or pizzicato. The rhythm section cooks and churns in the way one expects. But essentially the album stands or falls on the strength of Roger Davidson's songs and whether the classic Brazilian feel communicates. They do not disappoint. These are lyrically sumptuous musical repasts, well performed.
Davidson's mood here tends toward the cool realm. He doesn't kick off any super-burners. However the hour you spend with this music in a sitting is a delightful one. Nicely done, Mr. Davidson!
So, here’s a gringo that’s been writing Brazilian music for 30 years and really enjoys his work. Here, we find him rounding up some pals to help him take a walk down memory lane, playing tunes that will have you wondering where you heard them before, even though you probably haven’t unless you are a real samba hipster. Tasty stuff that could have easily come from the beach towns of Brazil, this might be samba for gringos, but don’t write it off lightly, it works throughout.
Reviewed by CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher