Dexter Payne Quartet + 1, Prá Você (Dexofon Records)

Dexter Payne Quarter, album cover, OffBeat Magazine, May 2014

Dexter Payne is a clarinetist from Boulder, Colorado, and his Prá Você is proof that Brazilian music can flourish in the most unlikely places. There are no Brazilians on this disc, though the pianist is a florid Venezuelan.

That said, everyone, gringos included, plays splendidly here. The disc is nicely divided between choros from Rio de Janeiro and forró, baiaos and xotes from the northeast, plus sambas from Rio and elsewhere. Some choros, like “Chorinho Prá Você” and the ravishing “Doce de Coco” are played straight, while “Assanhado” receives a whimsical “Choro Novo” treatment that would make avant-garde choro players in Brazil smile.

Sambas from Caetano Veloso (“Sampa”) and Noel Rosa (“Conversa de Botequim”) are well-done, and special kudos must go to guitarist Bill Kopper and his beautiful tone and the nifty handiwork of accordionist Dave Willey.

Quite the refreshing disc, one that will help tide me over until I can get back to that enchanted country.