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Djangada: Vol. 1 Caymmi



Djangada Band
Djangada Band: Sam Watts, Marcinho Pereira, Matheus Nova

There has been no dearth of repertory recordings over the years featuring the works of the iconic Brasilian composer from Bahia, Dorival Caymmi, scion of the musical family that bears his name. However, few hold the attention to the end as this disc by a trio with a name made of delightful whimsy, Djangada. What is so unusual about this recording Vol. 1 – Caymmi is not so much that Dorival Caymmi’s music is played by a trio, but that the sound is so enormous.

Who knew that a bassist, drummer, and pianist could combine with to make a joyfully “orchestral” sound. One is not being facetious in the least. For without playing at an inordinately loud volume, this trio has managed to do what sextets, septets, and even some octets cannot do, which is to make Mr Caymmi’s sound world appear to tower in its musical architecture of frevo, forro and axé rhythms. And so, even though the disc comes in at under half an hour, it seems epic. Best of all, there is no one song that stands out, the entire album is outstanding. Even the alternate takes of São Salvador and Pescaria are priceless as, having listened to both songs once, it seems so right to end this short set with both songs once again.

Djangada: Vol. 1 Caymmi
Djangada: Vol. 1 Caymmi

Djangada seem unfazed by the challenge of recording some of the most classic songs in the Brasilian canon of music, and that too, without a vocalist. More importantly, however, the performance by the trio, adds up to a well-contrasted and stimulating totality, abetted by the Englishman Sam Watts’ superb pianism and intelligent musicianship. His sense of timing and innate feeling for shaping the puckish, impulsive gestures of Dorival Caymmi’s music effectively accentuate the composer’s creativity and unpredictable harmonic detours. Rather than pouncing on Mr Caymmi’s downward declamatory scales, Mr Watts delineates them with sculpted care.

Of course, the magical narratives and built-in humour of all of Mr Caymmi’s evocations of his beloved Bahia would be nothing if not for the impossibly intricate rhythms of the Brasilian Northeast. The terrestrial grandeur and blithe mysticism of Mr Caymmi’s music – sans vocals – would be impossible to bring to life if it wasn’t for the rhythmic wall constructed by the bassist Matheus Nova, who combines sanguine dexterity with unbridled virtuosity, and the electrifying drumming of Marcinho Pereira. It’s hard to imagine this trio with any other musicians except these two rhythmists.

Deo gratis…!

Music – 1: São Salvador; 2: Saudade da Bahia; 3: Pescaria; 4: A Vizinha do Lado; 5: O Bem do Mar; 6: Vatapá; 7: São Salvador; 8: Pescaria.

Musicians – Sam Watts: piano; Matheus Nova: bass; Marcinho Pereira: drums.

Released – 2023
Label – Independent
Runtime – 27:40

YouTube Video – Djangada – São Salvador

Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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