[8 May 2008]
Maybe it’s age creeping up on him, but over the last decade, Claudio Roditi’s art has looked ever fonder towards his birthplace. Impressions imagines the trumpeter’s love of Rio, of all things carioca and samba, into the wayward effusions of John Coltrane. The result is simply delightful, a wholly unpretentious session recorded for the most part in single takes, performed with a litheness that puts much Northern hemisphere jazz to shame. It’s hardly the first such hybrid, but it’s the first to voice it through “Impressions” and “Giant Steps”; that Roditi’s quintet—with Algerian-born Idriss Boudrioua on soprano and alto, and a rhythm section of Sergio Barroso and Pascoal Mereilles—can square Coltrane’s spiritual ache with Brazil’s sensual urge is no mean feat. A Jobim-esque “The Monster and the Flower”, a gorgeous “Bye Bye Blackbird”, and a glide through João Donato’s “A Rã” fill out what must rank as a late career zenith.