The past 30 years have seen a groundswell of American interest in early Brazilian music, fueled (I believe) in part by releases by Arthur Moreira Lima on Pro-Arte Digital and David Byrne’s savvy collections on Luaka Bop. There are choro/samba groups in LA, NYC, Seattle and Denver, and at least two in NOLA.
Denver-based clarinetist Dexter Payne has been mining Brazil’s glorious riches at least since 1997, when he recorded in Manaus. On Jazz for All (Jazz Forro) he cuts a sizable swath, with choro, forro, xote and stripped-down frevo. The crew is four Americans, a Venezuelan pianist and an Italian singer (on a Villa-Lobos track).
Nine of the ten pieces are by Brazilian composers, including avowed eminences like Moacir Santos and Dominguinhos. The one original, “Forrozinho,” has a catchy melody and plenty of ginga. The gang plays very well, and drawing on the well (a bottomless pit, actually) of Brazilian traditions makes this a charming and intriguing disc.