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The Fettig factor

Mary Fettig releases Brazilian Footprints with a concert at Yoshi’s Oakland.

Daniella Thompson

18 June 2008

Mary Fettig and her band (photo: Wayne Fettig)

A Bay Area jazz stalwart, flutist-saxophonist Mary Fettig is a veteran whose résumé is studded with names such as Stan Kenton, Marian McPartland, Tito Puente, Flora Purim and Airto, Toninho Horta, and Joe Henderson. In addition to touring and recording, Fettig teaches jazz history at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Habitués of the Berkeley Jazzschool already know that Fettig is deeply immersed in the Brazilian music scene. In July 2007, she was seen onstage at the school in a concert that featured the young paulista guitarist-songwriter Chico Pinheiro and pianist-composer Marcos Silva (who teaches at the Jazzschool).

Fettig’s new CD,Brazilian Footprints, was recorded with Pinheiro and Silva utilizing four ccompositions by the latter and one by the former.

The opening tune, “Take the RR Train,” is a fast-rolling showcase for flute and piano, followed by “Nova,” which Chico Pinheiro recorded last year with Anthony Wilson. A yearning—at times soaring—ballad, it is aptly arranged here for Fettig’s alto sax.

The Jequibau is a 5/4 samba rhythm introduced in 1965 by the pianist Mário Albanese and his partner, the conductor Ciro Pereira. “No Balanço do Jequibáu” is one of their better-known tunes, and it receives here a welcome dose of jazz, complete with an elaborate piano solo from Silva.

Silva composed “Baixixe,” a playful crossbreed of baião and maxixe that injects a rural flavor into the urban jazz idiom. Hard on its heels is the evocative “Jequié” by Moacir Santos, which is treated to a punctuated, yet lyrical, interpretation.

The flute returns in the now delicate, now lively “Neguinha,” composed by the paulista bassist-guitarist Arismar do Espírito Santo. It gives Fettig a grand opportunity to show off her chops. “Waterfalls,” another tunes that meanders between the driven and the lyrical, features vocalese by Claudia Villela and emphatic piano by Silva, who also composed.

Enéias Xavier, a young mineiro bassist, contributed “Inspiração na Esquina,” a perpetual-motion machine that tips the hat to Clube da Esquina. The tempo slows down appreciably for Silva’s “Gliders,” an achingly beautiful rumination for alto sax, before the closing tune kicks in with wild flights on soprano sax and keyboard.

Mary Fettig and her band will launch Brazilian Footprints on Tuesday, 1 July 2008, at 8:00 pm. The venue is Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, Oakland.

Mary Fettig: Brazilian Footprints
(F Major Records FM 5808; 2008) 52 min.

01. Take the RR Train (Marcos Silva)
02. Nova (Chico Pinheiro)
03. No Balanço do Jequibáu (Mário Albanese/Ciro Pereira)
04. Baixixe (Marcos Silva)
05. Jequié (Moacir Santos)
06. Neguinha (Arismar do Espírito Santo)
07. Waterfalls (Marcos Silva)
08. Inspiração na Esquina (Enéias Xavier)
09. Gliders (Marcos Silva)
10. O Monstro e a Flor (Ricardo Silveira/Cláudio Roditi)

Mary Fettig: alto & soprano saxophones, flute
Marcos Silva: acoustic & electric pianos, synthesizer, percussion
Chico Pinheiro: acoustic & electric guitars
Scott Thompson: 6-string electric bass
Celso Alberti: drums, percussion
Alex Calatayud: pandeiro
Michael Spiro: percussion
Claudia Villela: vocalese


Copyright © 2008 Daniella Thompson. All rights reserved.