By Kira Grunenberg | Published December 2020
Confidence immediately rises from bassist Brandi Disterheft’s Surfboard. Led in slowly with solo tom and snare, the title track doesn’t race along. However, the energetic, off-beat, two-note pattern from pianist Klaus Mueller instantly pulls the piece forward, injecting rhythmic tenuousness into the Jobim cover. The interaction between Mueller’s melody and Portinho’s prominent cymbal blends and changes over time, presenting a balanced flow that becomes more secure. Oscillating between mild uncertainty and stability is the perfect summation of the bandleader’s adaptability throughout the album.
A mixture of differences is evident on the album’s vocal tracks, when Disterheft leads with a tonal delicacy evocative of Norah Jones and an enunciative punch akin to Björk. The emotionally enticing and elegant flirtation on “Coup De Foudre” flourishes, too, saxophonist George Coleman adding another dimension to Surfboard’s dexterity and fluidity. Moreover, the tracks he features on—particularly the bustling “Speak Low”—present the potential of Surfboard’s lineup in full swing.
Surfboard: Surfboard; Prelude To Coup De Foudre; Coup De Foudre; My Foolish Heart; Nanã; Manhattan Moon; The Pendulum At Falcon’s Lair; On Broadway; Speak Low; One Dream; Portrait Of Porto; Where Or When; Del Sasser; Reveries. (64:18)
Personnel: Brandi Disterheft, bass, vocals; Portinho, drums; Klaus Mueller, piano; George Coleman, tenor saxophone.