Charlie Dennard,
From Brazil to New Orleans
(independent, 2014)

From Brazil to New Orleans is is an amazing album, and one of the best examples of fusion I've heard. The worldbeat and the jazz elements are all present, yet they are fused into a cohesive and wide-ranging album. It's at least 50 percent jazz, but the other elements are woven in so smoothly that it's hard to pick them out even if you're listening for them. The overall effect is both melodic and fresh.

Charlie Dennard had a lot of collaborators here -- around 20, from all parts of the world, and they all had a chance to shine.

Personally, I adored the first cut, "Itape." It's got great energy, and the blend of jazz and other elements is seamless and perfect, and a great beginning to the album. "Asa Branca" features both an evocative flute (Josh Geisler) and a very expressive piano by Dennard, shared with several other musicians. It's nostalgic in the best way.

I love New Orleans jazz, and "Quando O Galo Cantar" captures the feel, but in smoother way that still has that energy. The final cut, "Ganga Zumbi," is amazing, an appropriate end to this album. Tatianna Parra's singing is gorgeous, blending well with the arrangements, which combine Brazilian and African styles into music that is both soothing and exciting.

All the cuts are generous in length, allowing time to really revel in them individually, not just as parts of an album. The flow from one cut to the next is impeccable, without a jarring moment.

I especially recommend this to those of us who like jazz and/or Brazilian music. Brazil is never far away, and the jazz works beautifully with it.

music review by
Amanda Fisher

17 May 2014

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