In evoking the dreamscape of Brasil Rogério Boccato reminds us that his connection with that country is deeply existential. And what would surely have been for an émigré a sense of disorientation, confusion, or dread in the face of the apparently meaningless or absurd world around him is quickly restored through his Brasilian-ness… and the music of Milton Nascimento, Egberto Gismonti, Toninho Horta and Edu Lobo. The dreamscape within which Mr. Boccato chooses to return the favour; to sign into the musical continuum to which he belongs is also quite remarkable.
His spirit on No Old Rain seems inundated by changing impressions – from sertão do nordeste to the proverbial concrete jungle – now joyful, now melancholy, now full of euphoria and then replete with a profound tranquility, produced by the limitless immensity and the transformation of his music from the countryside to the city. And Mr. Boccato’s rare craftsmanship is gorgeously manifest in his delicate manipulation of everything from the lugubrious bass drum – the surdo – to the delicate pings of the cymbals that break the quietude of the music on Milton Nascimento’s “Morro Velho” which appropriately closes the recording, a setting sun that once rose to eminence on “Cais”.
This grounding of all of the music of No Old Rain in the soil of Mr. Boccato’s native country is further underpinned by his inclusion of prominent touchstones in the epic voyage of Brasil’s music itself. Reconstructing the iconic corner-club where history was made, Mr. Boccato goads saxophonist Dan Blake to evoke its potent influence on a whole generation of poets and musicians often using the upper register of the tenor saxophone to create high and lonesome lines evocative of Mr. Nascimento’s spectacular falsetto. Also noteworthy is Fender Rhodes of Nando Michelin, redolent in the gleaming magic and folk inflections of Mr. Gismonti’s music, and a perfect boon companion to Mr. Boccato for the bittersweet version of Edu Lobo’s “Canto Triste”.
And if Mr. Blake is the principal melodic player on No Old Rain, bassist Jay Anderson crafts his statuesque way through the music with a rumbling gravitas, acting as an rhythmic doppelgänger for Mr. Boccato and adding strategic punctuation to the drummer’s phrases. Here, then, in all its radiant apparel, is the splendor of Brasil’s golden age of music. In his elaborately scored soundtrack to his journey back home Mr. Boccato has not only chosen poignant and appropriate to accompany him but he has almost as magically put his re-imagined, almost minimalist impressions in the hands of musicians perfectly in tune with his own artistry and vision. A disc to die absolutely for…
Track list – 1: Cais; 2: Clube de Esquina No. 2; 3: Tango; 4: Bicycle Ride; 5: Bianca; 6: Cravo e Canela; 7: Canto Triste; 8: Pedra da lua; 9: Viver de amor; 10: Morro velho
Personnel – Dan Blake: tenor and soprano saxophones; Nando Michelin: Fender Rhodes; Jay Anderson: bass; Rogério Boccato: drums and percussion
Released – 2018
Label – Red Piano Records
Runtime – 56:09