Rio

COMPOSERS: Various
LABELS: Winter & Winter
PERFORMER: Uri Caine (p, el p), Jorge Helder (b), Paulo Braga (d)
CATALOGUE NO: 910 079-2

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Since his debut as a leader in 1993 with Sphere Music followed by his equally attention-getting Toys from 1995 (two albums of hard swinging post-bop), Uri Caine has emerged as a musician of enormous technical resource firmly versed in the ‘jazz tradition’ yet has demonstrated the imagination and vision to apply this knowledge in working beyond the tradition, instead of being limited by it.

Thus his highly praised album Primal Light from 1996 was a refraction of jazz, Mahler and klezmer and was followed by re-imaginings of the music of Richard Wagner. He has also shared a long association with clarinettist Don Byron, shining in the diverse contexts devised by this equally individual conceptualist. Rio is Caine’s response to jazz’s love affair with Brazilian music that goes back to the days of Stan Getz’s Bossa Nova Years of 1962-4.

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With local musicians, Caine explores the diversity of Brazilian music, from the big latin beat of ‘Samba do mar’ to the lyrical bossa-nova ‘Dia de Praia’ through to ‘Tropicalia’ and ‘Brazilia’ style vocals to reveal the broad range and imaginative sweep of Brazilian music, washed with his own fluent and at times exhilarating improvisations. In so doing, he shows how jazz can be revitalised by world music influences without losing those elements that make it so compelling and subversive in the first place. Stuart Nicholson