Os Filhos do Vento (Children of the Wind)

Adventure Music, USA - CD


Another talented practitioner from the modern Brazil music scene, like Hermanes Abreu, Mr. Iago presents us with a very tuneful and heartfelt celebration of the concept of wandering peoples --the gypsies of central and southern Europe in particular. The gypsies cause a lot of consternation among some musical theorists because they've picked up so much musical baggage (no pun intended) over the centuries from here and there; composer Iago spends little time dipping into their fund of musical ideas, but a sense of restlessness and a need to move on does come up in this music again and again, belying a certain calmness at its very center. So it's still appropriate. As a pianist Iago recalls Lyle Mays in melodic construction, but one Mays fault that Iago does not have is a tendency to splash about far too many notes here and there. There's a quiet sense of meditation in his work that more recalls Keith Jarrett. Best are the tunes with flautist Keith Underwood and (surprise) Oregon's oboist Paul McCandless, as supple and delightful a master of the woodwinds as ever. Fans of that 'parallel reality' atmosphere which always surrounded Oregon at their best will note McCandless hasn't developed his craft much: the opening track here, "Pelo Mundo Afora," would fit nicely on any of the first dozen Oregon albums. But in this McCandless replicates a tendency I used to hear in his spiritual ancestor Paul Desmond, so it makes sense. "Sonata Brasiliera," for all intents an Underwood-Iago duet, swells with repeating figures and loping flute work; good company on one of those afternoons which would appear bent on planning itself. Put this on the CD player and something might happen. "Sara," the other piece with McCandless, moves toward the 'modern but not dissonant' classical work of, say, Ira Stein and Russell Walder's Windham Hill recordings of the mid-1980s. It's a special treat, in the latter two minutes of "Sara," to hear McCandless dub on cor anglais, soprano saxophone and bass clarinet. Tasty! Doesn't reinvent the compass, but still...

The "Prologue" to Children of the Wind begins with a raw field holler and some tapping on tuned sheet-metal drums (I think); moving through other forms of hand-held percussing, Iago navigates his piano among spirit whispers and showers of spark-like tambourines full of dried beans (or frame drums, for all I know). Distant voices offer a counterpoint, and as the Prologue works its way into the main suite, the celebration does pick up and the music takes a sort of flight (some marvelous cello from Joanna Blendulf, incidentally). It's precise and affecting. I'm first toadmit that this is not necessarily my kind of music, but if you want to know whence the Pat Metheny Group got the tonic backdrop for those 440-horsepower sambas they've long been known for, Iago knows the roots of the form as well as anybody. Good stuff.

by Kenneth Egbert