The Best of Brazil
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Jazz guitarist Joe Carter swings on Both Sides of the Equator

March 2, 2011 – Connecticut-based jazz guitarist and composer Joe Carter has recorded a sparkling new album titled Both Sides of the Equator, featuring David Finck on bass and Zé Maurício on percussion. Although the disc is not slated for release until later this year, Jazz guitarist Joe Carter. Joe Carter Joe burned a CD-R for us and sent it along with his personal reflections on the title, the repertoire, his musical heroes, and musician friends. Here's what he wrote, followed by a sample track.

The title of this recording came about when I realized I had selected tunes that could be considered the best of both worlds — classic tunes from the North American Songbook and standards from the Brasilian repertoire, with a couple of originals thrown into the mix.

The North American songs are standards I have been playing for years, with two of the songs associated with one of my musical heroes, pianist Bill Evans. I had written and chosen my original, 'Variations on a Theme by Bill Evans,' without realizing I had also chosen 'Young & Foolish' and 'Waltz For Debby.' The Brasilian tunes include some obscurities: a Jobim waltz, 'Mojave,' and a tune I had heard on a Rosinha da Valença recording, 'Tema do Boneco de Palha.' David Finck and Joe Carter. David Finck and Joe Carter
Rosinha was always one of my favorite guitarists, someone who could swing hard but could also draw you into the music with her intimate and soulful touch. 'Valse de Euridice' was a favorite of another of my heroes (maybe I should re-title this CD?), Baden Powell, who played and recorded this tune many times.

Most of my recordings and performances always include a tune or two from my pal, Maurício Einhorn. Here we do his classic tune, 'Batida Diferente,' The Different Beat, recorded by Cannonball Adderly and many, many others. Maurício and I go back to my first trip to Rio in 1988. I had a three week gig at the top jazz club at the time, People Jazz Bar. Maurício was the first person I knew I had to seek out during my stay in Brasil. We became fast friends and have performed, recorded together and even did a duo tour of Europe a few years back.

This recording is also a return of sorts for me. My first recording, Too Marvelous For Words, was a duo recording with bassist Rufus Reid, all the way back in 1980. Most of my early performances and recordings were duos and trios. I always liked the intimacy of the small group Percussionist Zé Maurício. Zé Maurício and the fact that it forces you to really listen to your partner or partners.

The original idea for this recording was to make it a guitar/ bass duo with my long time friend, bassist David Finck, the guy of whom pianist Sir Andre Previn has said 'There is no one who is as good a jazz bass player and collaborator.' While I was still in the planning stages for the recording, I had done some gigs with percussionist Zé Maurício, and I knew he could really add to the group dynamic. When I heard the first series of playbacks, I knew my hunch was correct.

From Both Sides of the Equator, here's a sneak preview of a bossa nova Joe Carter wrote entitled Viktor with a K. (Rain on your Skin) featuring guest vocalist Jessica Medina. (If you don't see the audio player below, please update your browser. The file might take 30 seconds or more to load, depending on the speed of your internet connection and CPU.)

Photos courtesy of Joe Carter