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THE EUFORIA TRIO:
Think of the delicate percussive subtlety of a Jobim samba. Think of a quiet but irresistibly-swinging Wes Montgomery guitar solo. Put them together: thats Euforia, the mellow, stunningly original bass-guitar-drums Brazilian trio. Theyre led by Santi Debriano, the virtuoso bassist-composer who impressed me so much at The Offering session. Sonically, imagine the richness of the clearest acoustic bass sound you know. Add the resonant warmth of the best-sounding hollow-body guitar youve heard. Now surround them with the spacious shimmer of real-life cymbals and brushes. Thatll be almost as good as the sound on this CD. (#05732)
The Euforia Trio is bassist Santi Debriano, guitarist Paul Meyers, and drummer Vanderlei Pereira. The group has Panamanian, American and Brazilian roots, richly reflected in their Pan American repertoire. The fourteen cuts range from "Xin Xin Swing," echoing Benny Goodman, to the percussion interlude, "O Baterista nas Americas," to the Wes Montgomery tune "Caribe." There's also several introspective numbers, Horace Silver's "Peace", guitarist Meyer's composition "Pensive," and the Panamanian folkloric number "Alegria," with a melancholy mood that defies its title. The musicianship is beautifully balanced and nuanced throughout.
The music of the Euforia Trio is a wonderfully personal, deeply-felt presentation of Brazilian air. Mapleshade producer Pierre Sprey reports in nicely detailed liner notes that his attention to the project was hooked after the following exchange with bassist Debriano: "You guys play a lot of Jobim, Gilberto Gil, all of those Brazilian standards?" asked Sprey. "No," replied Santi, "most of our music is stuff that either Paul or I write." It takes gumption to take such a crowd-pleasing genre as Brazilian music and cast most of your repertoire as originals, which Euforia has done with nine out of the 14 tracks here. Any fears of a bare-bones approach that drains the music of color and vitality should be checked at the door, as the three musicians apply these qualities in abundance.
Paul Meyers, a throughly enjoyable guitarist who I could listen to all day, is in the spotlight most of the time, and his vocabulary of gentle, sheen-producing strums ("Linden Boulevard"), slightly reverbed Jazz chords (Wes Montgomery's "Twisted blues" recast as an altered samba), and a great tone (take your pick), assures a beam well spent. Vanderlei Pereira is a quietly forceful drummer who pushes everything along with thoughtful sizzle, as on Horace Silver's "Peace" or the bassist's Latin "Xin-Xin Swing." I can't remember the last time I encountered Debrianohe seems to have been around forever at this pointbut it's a pleasure to re-make his acquaintance. Strong tone, supple technique, intense focushe's got it all. Six of the tunes are his, including the brightly idiomatic "Tio," the burning "Linden Boulevard," and the dramatic, sol "Alegria," which recalls phrases from Charlie Haden's 1969 "Song For Che."
The trio also deserves mention for not being afraid of using the language of Free for two totally improvised tracks: "Euforia" and "Conexao" show them capable of speaking competently in that tongue, while retaining the overall feel of the project. Sprey also mentions in his liners that the first session with the band had them using extra musicians, an idea that was abandoned by the third session, whose results are found here. Personally, I'd like to hear these guys with additional players at some point, just for the pleasure of hearing them bounce their strong ideas and chops off of other people. They're that good. But Euforia shows that they also function beautifully in their prime element. Recommended.
Euforia, not to be confused with Chico
Hamilton's similarly-named group, is a New York-based trio
comprised of Santi Debriano (bass), Paul Meyers
(guitar) and Vanderlei Periera (drums). For nearly
a decade, they've been exploring acoustic, Brazilian-tinged
jazz in a style that sounds much like Wes Montgomery's work
crossed with 1960s Brazilian jazz. Most importantly, the trio's
debut recording bristles with that same warm, live-in-the-room
feeling that made those famous '60s Brazilian recordings for
Verve and EMI-Odeon so unforgettable.
November 9, 1998