Re-release of ‘Live in Los Angeles’ by Rique Pantoja

Moondo Music has recently re-mastered Live in Los Angeles for digital release only. The album, by Rique Pantoja, was originally released back in 2001but, apparently needed to be re-engineered for current platforms, including high resolution streaming outlets.

The album opens with “Arpoador,” which means harpooner in Portuguese. Pantoja grew up in Arpoador, a small peninsula between Ipanema and Copacabana, where whales were often seen in the choppy waters. The song has a Latin flavor and features a haunting melody. “Julinho” is based on a melodic minor scale that moves between minor and major seventh chords. Its theme is basically a conversation between the bass line and the melody.

Pantoja wrote “1000 Watts” in honour of his old friend Ernie Watts, who played on Pantoja’s first album for Warner Bros. The song starts off as a pop tune but moves into a fast, toe-tapping samba. A baiana is a woman from Bahia. The song “Da Baiana” is based on the ijexa, an Afro-Cuban rhythm. Pantoja quips, “I play a nice solo on this tune, but I really like the solos by Ricardo Silveira and Steve Tavaglione.”

Pantoja wrote “Bebop Kid” for his son as a homework assignment to learn solfege. It is a soulful blues that breaks into a Brazilian rhythm. Pantoja co-wrote “Que Loucura” with his friend, the Grammy-nominated Celso Fonseca. The composition has a cha-cha feel. In Brazil, a Morena is a dark-skinned brunette. Pantoja’s “Morena” is a story of a beautiful Morena he sees walking along the beach. Pantoja wrote ”Pra Lili” for an old friend named Lili. The rhythm moves between a 7/8 and 6/8 feel.

I have had a listen to the album and that Brazilian style Latin Jazz is there and the melodies are very accessible but for me it is all a little too smooth, too engineered: I enjoyed it to a degree but it did not really engage me on an emotional level, which is a shame because I really do enjoy the rhythms of Latin Jazz.

Musicians: Steve Tavaglione – sax, flute; Jimmy Earl – bass; Joel Taylor – drums; Ricardo Silveira – guitar; Cassio Duarte – percussion; Rique Pantoja – keyboards, vocals.

Tracklist: 1. Arpoador. 2. Julinho. 3. 1000 Watts. 4. Da Baiana. 5. Bebop Kid. 6. Que Loucura. 7. Morena. 8. Pra Lili.

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