South Florida isn't exactly a hub for jazz. Despite the fact that a few solid jazz musicians have retired here and that some damn fine players were raised here, the culture of jazz itself doesn't seem to stick. So it's a pleasant shock when an international jazz musician moves from Brazil to West Palm Beach to launch his career. That's sort of like building an igloo in Maui, but no matter. Rio de Janeiro's Diogo Brown is here, South Florida is his new home, and the talented bassist already has a solid LP of straight-ahead-meets-eccentric-jazz to show for it.
His debut album, Daqui Pro Mundo (Here to the World) is a glimpse inside the head of a young composer/musician on the rise. Brown plays not only electric and upright bass throughout the album but also percussion and guitar, all of which come together surprisingly well. But make no mistake: The bass is his weapon, and Brown unloads on tunes like "Sound Check Groove" and "I Gotta Go," which bring the funk to the party with a New Orleans-meets-the-Global South vibe. There are inflections of samba and bossa nova in the tunes, and lovers of Latin jazz will get their fix early on. Sonically this is world jazz more than Brazilian jazz, and since much of it was recorded in Miami, Cuban influences and the city's global "One Sound" are detectable as well. "O Samba de Nos Dois" easily incorporates all of these styles, which is part of what gives the album such depth. It's not for sure how long West Palm Beach is going to be able to hold on to him, but temporarily South Florida has an emerging jazz bass giant worth celebrating.
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