Andy Jaffe Nonet +3


Hermeto Pascoal long has been an inspiration for Andy Jaffe, a pianist who once had a “life-changing” encounter with the master musician in Rio de Janeiro. Pascoal’s influence has stayed with Jaffe through the years and is evident on Chorinhoso, an album whose title is a play on the Portuguese choro, the intricate and active instrumental music that flourished in Brazil during the 19th century.

Jaffe’s orchestrations are lush and impeccably voiced, as expected from a college professor who literally wrote the book on jazz harmony. Chorhinoso allows for plenty of improvising, featuring virtually every bandmember on “Duende” and “Olhos Fechados,” tunes based on the chords to “Isfahan” and “I’ll Close My Eyes.” “Chorinho Pra Hermeto” lurches with unexpected chromatic shifts—à la Pascoal—transforming a common blues form into a wicked little puzzle for the improvisers to solve. The album’s harmonic weightiness is balanced with the ethereal lucidity of a rhythm section that understands Brazilian music. If Miles Davis had instructed his Birth Of The Cool ensemble to explore choro, perhaps this would have been the result.