Best Jazz Albums of 2005

by Matt Cibula
19 December 2005

Heloísa Fernandes, Fruto (Maritaca)

This pianist from Sao Paulo loves Bill Evans and old forró music and straight-ahead jazz and avant-garde jazz and classical music and life and love and children and peace and liberty and friendship, and it all comes across here on this stunning record. Her musical accomplice, Zeca Assumpçao, provides a great bottom end on bass, and guest Nana Vasconcelos does his funky vocal percussion thang on "Colheita". But this is Fernandes's show all the way. Her manic take on Caetano Veloso's "Trilhos Urbanos" is like Vince Guaraldi's undone score for "Charlie Brown Moves to Harlem," and her chilled-out title tune is a frozen candy bar. But the most ambitious piece is the best one: Her double-tracked pointillist piano and harpsichord work on "Criança" plays nicely off the two cellists who bring this nine-minute piece into the mystic. Better wake up, American jazzos, Brazil is KILLING you right now.

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