Colors of Brazil
Kansas City, Missouri, native Kenney Polson has had a long love affair with Brazilian music. In fact, the saxophonist spent five years as a resident of Rio de Janeiro, playing with some of the area’s best musicians. Polson’s passion for those vibrant rhythms resounds throughout his latest recording, Colors of Brazil (Rosetta), on which he performs songs by Brazilian composers such as Djavan, Ivan Lins, Toninho Horta and Dori Caymmi, among others, accompanied by A-list Brazilian musicians. He and his ensemble also offer a thrilling read of the Juan Tizol/Duke Ellington classic “Caravan,” here dubbed “Caravana” for its Latin sabor. The track begins with thundering drums and percussion, soon joined by a thumping little big band undergirded by Nico Assumpção’s fluid electric bass lines. Polson’s sinewy alto sax leads the charge, although he hands off fiery solos to pianist Marinho Boffa and bassist Assumpção. Trumpeter Paulinho Trompete and tenor saxophonist Marcello Martins engage in an exciting back-and-forth that takes the track to its final fade. Perhaps Polson’s feel for hard-charging swing comes naturally: His grandfather, “Chubby” Wayne Harshaw, played in the bands of Count Basie and Cab Calloway.