The heavenly-voiced Sandy Cressman comes from, what might easily be considered in knowledgeable circles as, West Coast musical royalty. She and her husband and trombonist, producer and recording engineer have graced music in the Jazz styles Brasilian, in the US, and in Brasil. Together they are also parents to two daughters; Natalie who, is based in New York, is a wonderfully gifted trombonist in her own right, taking after her father, Jeff, whose mighty virtuosity propelled Santana’s band as well. Julianna, a younger daughter, has made enviable start as a dancer, also on the United States West Coast.
Entre Amigos, the 2017 recording by Sandy Cressman gloriously encapsulates the singer’s far-reaching Brasilian development as it takes her further afield from the comfort of the ‘carioca’ surroundings that she knows so well into the complex and magical Northeastern region of Brasil. Her ebullient frevo “Não Me Acorde Não (Don’t Wake Me)” shows a gifted grasp of the complex and idiomatic rhythms and features an effervescent solo by the frevo mestre, Spok, who also arranges and conducts a wonderful team of Brasilian musicians from the legendary Spok Frevo Orchestra.
Further down the album, Sandy Cressman pays tribute to Brasil’s beloved O Bruxo, The Sorcerer himself: Hermeto Pascoal with a piece (“Para Hermeto”) that warmly embraces Pascoal’s wickedly inventive metres and she is fortunate to have pianist, Jovino Santos Neto as co-writer here. No one knows Pascoal better, musically, than Jovino Santos Neto who teams up with Sandy Cressman here. Eduardo Neves’ extraordinary flute solo turns an already stellar piece into a truly enchanted one blending Pascoal-like mock-rustic mischief with unashamedly gorgeous re-harmonisations, courtesy of Jovino Santos Neto.
It would not be wholly wild to speculate here that Jeff Cressman’s articulate and amorous exploits on the trombone are forged not only in the naturally sensuousness of the Brasilian idiom, but are also drawn to his wife’s beguiling vocalastics. Natalie Cressman makes a guest appearance on trombone on “Deixa O Amor Florescer” and turns in a luminous performance as well. Other songs also feature extraordinary musicians from Brasil and the American West Coast music scene that bring a winning combination of genuine excitement and bustling virtuosity to Entre Amigos.
However, it is the radiant lyricism in the voice of Sandy Cressman, complete with the affective whisperings and exhilarating resonances that combine with the poetry of her music that make this recording quite unforgettable.
Track List: 1: Como Eu Quero Cantar (I Just Want to Sing…); 2: Here in Your Arms; 3: Não Me Acorde Não (Don’t Wake Me); 4: Ela É (She is); 5: Eu Mais Você (Me Plus You); 6: Para Hermeto (For Hermeto); 7: Nossa História (Our Story); 8: Deixa O Amor Florescer (Let Love Flourish); 9: Menina Vai (Go Girl!); 10: Eu Vou Lembrar (I Will Remember); 11: Eu Mais Você.
Personnel: Sandy Cressman: voice; Dani Gurgel: voice (1); Debora Gurgel: Fender Rhodes (1); David K. Matthews: Fender Rhodes (4); Peter Horvath: piano (2); Jovino Santos Neto: piano (6); Anne Sajdera: piano (9); Antonio Adolfo: piano (10); Beto Hortis: accordion (3); Sidiel Viera: bass (1); David Belove: bass (2, 6, 9, 10); Benny Rietveld: bass (4); Scott Thompson: bass (5, 8); Hélio Silva: bass (3); Ian Faquini: acoustic guitar (2, 5, 7, 8, 10), voice (9); Pepé: 7-string guitar, cavaquinho, banjo (3); Hugo Wainzinger: tenor saxophone (9); Renato Bandeira: electric guitar (3); Ray Obiedo: electric guitar, keyboard pads (5); Thiago Rabello: drums (1); Celso Alberti: drums (2, 6, 9), percussion (2); Adelson Silva: drums (3); Dedé Simpatia: surdo and pandeiro (3); Dennis Chambers: drums (4); Phil Thompson: drums (5, 10); Michael Spiro: percussion (1, 5, 6, 8, 9); Spok: alto and tenor saxophones (3); Harvey Wainapel: tenor saxophone (8); Eduardo Neves: flute (5); Enok Chagas: trumpet (3); Augusto França: trumpet (3); Jeff Cressman: trombone (1 – 6, 8, 9); Natalie Cressman: trombone (8); João Paolo Amaral: coro (1); Almir Cortes: coro (1).