Recommended: The Reunion Project – “Varanda”


The charm of Varanda is found in the give and take between light and dark tones.  The Reunion Project quintet capture the spirit of a cheerful, sunny day, while also remembering that shadows play an essential part in the equation.  “Sinuosa” pairs the bright tones of Chico Pinheiro’s guitar and those much darker from Felipe Salles’ bass clarinet, and despite being positioned as direct opposites, they bounce along to the same cheery tempo.  This is not a unique effect on the recording.  The piano of Tiago Costa straddles the border between shadow and light on “Reunion,” dipping its toes into each side, while Salles’ soprano sax lights things up against a backdrop of drummer Edu Ribeiro’s calming chatter.  The roles are switched on “Cobalt Blue,” where the melody is given a melancholy presence via Salles’ tenor sax, while drums, instead, provide the cheery get-up-and-go presence.

It’s a mix of modern jazz and Brazilian musics, and, at times, it’s more than a little reminiscent of Don Pullen’s excellent African-Brazilian Connection recordings of the 90s.  Varanda doesn’t quite achieve the heights of intensity nor the melodic depth of Pullen’s ensemble, but in that way his music could incite the most genial and uplifting warmth even during moments of extreme contemplation is something that the quintet of The Reunion Project do convey with no little success.

A seriously easy-to-like recording and friendly as hell.

Your album personnel:  Felipe Salles (tenor & soprano saxophones, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet), Chico Pinheiro (guitar), Tiago Costa (piano), Edu Ribeiro (drums) and Bruno Migotto (bass).

Released on Tapestry Records.

Jazz from NYC.

Available at:  Amazon