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Bossa Rhythm Project

Tucson's Bossa Rhythm Project is one of those interesting and novel boutique groups. You know, the kind made up of musicians who mostly play in other bands but have come together to create something their regular mates are neither interested in or capable of. In this case it's a softer and more obscure side of Brazilian music and Latin jazz

Brazilian music, most often defined by the high-energy dance rhythms of Carnival, is not always what it appears. This is especially so when the softer side of samba, as explored here, meets up with Louie Levinson's pedal steel guitar and "Uncle" Dave Jeffrey on the vibes. (Bassist Jack Wood and Bobby Moreno on percussion round out the band.) Levinson, a regular with the country-flavored Cochise County All-Stars, uses his steel guitar in a way that Brazilian music has never experienced before. His touch, however, is so deft and smooth on pieces like "Forgotten Land" and "Se Fue La Conchita," that BRP is opening up a side of this music that might even move a Brazilian to take notice.

On the vibes, Jeffrey, a veteran of many blues bands, gives a legitimate jazz feel to the proceedings with his distinctive runs and gentle improvisations. As a group, they all get to show off their chops on the expansive six-minute piece "Abre Alas." High-energy dance music this is not, but for a late night/date night, it works just fine.

More by Jim Lipson

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