Mix a little Latin, a little samba and the craving to
just get out there and play are the recipe for EastSideRioDrive
(World Blue Records, 2015) by Nilson Matta.
Matta plays acoustic bass. His accompanists vary from track to track,
with flutist Anne Drummond, pianist Edsel Gomez, and winds player Craig
Handy contributing to several tracks each.
Guitarist Romero Lubambo’s expertise is called on for the opener, “Sertao,”
featuring vocalist Jesse Lynn. It’s a lively piece with hints of South
American styles with a taste of Europe. Handy’s flute is in a duet with
the singer during the lyrical portions of the song. Then Handy shifts to
tenor sax for a spirited solo. Percussionist Cyro Baptista joins Matta
and carrying the foundation for this track. Lubambo is out front during
the introduction, but he really stretches out after the middle break.
The speed of his fingers amazes. After the guitar solo, Matta steps
forward with Baptista providing a vocal chant. The song then reverts to
Handy returns with the tenor for an adaption of Charles Mingus’ “Boogie
Stop Shuffle.” Also appearing is drummer Vince Cherico. The tenor
carries the lead much of the way, with plenty of background involvement
by Matta and the others. During one passage, piano and sax join for a
frantic, stairstep sequence.
Matta gets his licks in with a few solos here and there. But mostly,
EastSideRioDrive is about the arrangements and the guests. Matta
composed two of the 10 tracks, with arranger Humberto Leder contributing
one track. The rest are fresh arrangements of songs by Miles Davis,
Antonio Carlos Jobim and others.