Music made with pleasure and that provides pleasure and information. That’s Leo Gandelman’s goal in “Lounjazz”, a CD he produced and is releasing with his own label, Saxsamba (distributed by Rob Digital). As the title suggests, we are introduced to a symbiosis of lounge sound (relaxed and relaxing) with the free spirit of jazz, from a cauldron containing samba, bossa nova, choro and other genres duly manipulated by the saxophonist, composer and arranger.

Jazz and Brazilian pop music – two streams mixed by nature, which in essence never aspired to any kind of purity, but were strengthened due to the assimilation of different rhythms – have been the pillars of Leo Gandelman’s work. “Lounjazz” breaks new ground and the musician’s biography shows that he has a license for these flights. In addition to his erudite education (son of a classical pianist and conductor, at the age of 15 he was already playing the flute in the Brazilian Symphony Orchestra), he also studied at the Berklee College of Music and, from the 1980s onwards, worked in studios and stages with real music celebrities. Brazilian. His solo career, which began in 1987 with the album “Leo Gandelman”, was characterized by instrumental music that was based on both lyricism and swing. A recipe that was enthusiastically received in the American market, where Leo released many of his records, living much of the 90’s and early 21st century in New York. There, in addition to solo work, he also participated, alongside jazz musicians such as Bernard Purdie, Grant Green and Rueben Wilson, in the group Masters of Groove – which Gandelman brought to Brazil in 2002.

“Lounjazz” is the consolidation of many aspects of the story told above. Recent works produced by Leo, such as “Brazilian soul” (1999) and “Pérolas negras” (1997), already anticipated this musical synthesis, but were based mainly on popular music classics. Now, as is the case with his first album, the repertoire is almost entirely original, written by the saxophonist in partnership with keyboardist William Magalhães (a traveling companion since the late 1980s) and drummer Juliano Zanoni (a young musician Gandelman met in the end of his stint in New York and has been a constant partner ever since). During the recordings, instrumentalists such as Alberto Continentino (double bass), Nico Resende (guitar), André Vasconcellos (double bass), Bernardo Bosisio (guitar), Sidinho (percussion) and David Feldman (piano) also made a significant contribution to the consolidation of this concept. .

In the opening, “Bossa Rara” synthesizes the intentions and mood of the CD: totally original bossa nova, in which acoustics and electronics come together in favor of a sound that combines softness and swing. Then follows “Gavião”, a more rhythmic track, with a samba flavor, which maintains the mood – in fact, Leo and Magalhães had just composed the track when a falcon appeared in front of the window, giving his name as the title. “Dançarará” was given lyrics by Seu Jorge, written on the same day as the recording. Leo produced some ideas and the samba pop composer put into words what the theme suggested in a creative brainstorming session in the studio.

Another synthesis track, on “Lounjazz (true blues)” Gandelman’s alto sax moves sinuously through the impressive percussion (the electronic part, programmed by William Magalhães, and the “instrumental part”, by Sidinho). “Bari bossa” is the vehicle for a great solo by Leo on baritone sax, hence the title.

“Unknown Society” is the most unconventional track on the CD, with echoes that run through both Marcos Nimrichter’s accordion tango and David Feldman’s free jazz piano solos. Leo’s alto sax works as the guiding thread of this trip, maintaining dialogues and bringing extremes together.

“The yacht” has as its starting point the classic “The little boat”. Leo created a new composition based on a phrase from the music of Roberto Menescal (and Ronaldo Bôscoli), which is now moving into other areas.

“Total love” is one of the themes that Léo composed for the soundtrack of “Estrela solitary”, in this case, the love story between Elza Soares and Garrincha. A passionate supporter of Botafogo, to compose the soundtrack of the film that tells the story of the most symbolic player of his team, Leo became deeply involved with the music of the time, from a survey of the fabulous collection of records by writer Ruy Castro. In addition to this research, the sounds of the period have always accompanied Leo. In the early 60s, his father, Henrique Gandelman, had a record company called Plaza, a pioneer in the fusion of samba and jazz, which released records such as “Saxsambando” – which also inspired the name of the record company, now created by Leo.

In the recreations of “Lounjazz”, the approaches are also original. An example is the approach of “Tico tico lounge”, which brings the almost centenary “Tico-tico no cornmeal” (Zequinha de Abreu) ​​to the dance floors, without giving up the playfulness of this choro. Or to reaffirm the contemporary afro-sambas of Baden Powell (and Vinicius de Moraes) in a vibrant version of “Canto de Ossanha” (pay attention to Leo’s fluent solo on tenor saxophone).

Another hit is the beautiful samba-canção “Inquietação”, by Ary Barroso, with the participation of Zélia Duncan, a track included on the CD as a bonus. The instrumentation, a basic and fantastic quartet, with Zanoni on drums, Continentino on double bass, Feldman on piano and Leo Gandelman on soprano sax, is also a tribute to saxophonist John Coltrane and his classic album with singer Johnny Hartman. The result, as in another classic produced by Ary, is pure luxury, cool and deep.

To close the CD, another bonus track, the remix of “Dançarará”. “Dançarará remix”, “Tico tico lounge” and “Canto de Ossanha” were also produced in small quantities in the form of vinyl records, for distribution to DJs by Leo Gandelman.

For dance floors, lounges and minds, “Lounjazz” is an irresistible ticket to a fantastic musical journey.

Antônio Carlos Miguel – Editor of the Second Notebook and Music Critic of the newspaper O Globo.


Repertoire: Bossa Rara (Leo Gandelman – Juliano Zanoni – William Magalhães), Gavião (Leo Gandelman – William Magalhães), Dançarará (Leo Gandelman – Juliano Zanoni – André Vasconcelos – Seu Jorge), Canto de Ossanha (Baden Powell – Vinicius de Moraes ), Lounjazz (Leo Gandelman – William Magalhães), Bari Bossa (Leo Gandelman), Tico Tico Lounge – Arrangement, loops and samples – Leo Gandelman / Bossa Cuca Nova, Sociedade Desconhecida (Leo Gandelman – Juliano Zanoni – William Magalhães), O Iate (Leo Gandelman), Love Total (Leo Gandelman – Nico Rezende), Inquietação (Ary Barroso), Dançarará Remix (Arrangement and additional programming – Bossa Cuca Nova).