SamPa – Lampiao (CD)

Jazz as a genre seems to have fallen into a rut over the last twenty years; where the genre was really popping with the more experimental work of a Chick Corea or a Weather Report, it gradually cooled down during the eighties and nineties. SamPa’s unique blend of musical styles, which includes jazz, blues, salsa, and even rock at the periphery, is the thing that jazz needs to really let the air out of what is now a musty genre. SamPa introduces listeners to this eclectic style with the track “Lampiao”. The complex time signatures that are commonplace unite well with tribal rhythms and dense arrangements to make a track that ensures that listeners have to give the track a number of listens before they can truly realize what it is that SamPa is trying to do.

Of particular note during “Lampiao” has to be the rich bass line that is present, which beyond adding a great chunky sound to the track, provides a range that at a level that is reached by masters like Jaco Pastorius. This is not to say that the other constituent parts of SamPa are not holding up their end of the bargain; the piano and percussion here provide the perfect foil to the deeper sound put forth by the bass. “Tem Do” provides listeners with a quicker tempo and changes the expected dynamic up considerably. Where the bass was the focal point of “Lampiao”, it takes a little more of a backseat role during “Tem Do”. The piano’s time is “Tem Do” to shine; beyond playing up close and personally, it provides more of a narrative through a number of stops and starts. “Julia” has a slower tempo to it than either “Lampiao” or “Julia”; it is this break with the album’s trends that makes this into one of the disc’s strongest points.

Where previous tracks felt as if the act was trying to wow their listener base with their technical prowess and versatility, “Julia” sees them bring a warmth and thoughtfulness to their compositions that simply cannot be surpassed. The horn takes a primary position during this track, and the soul brought the track by the horn brings forth images of sitting by a fire during a cold, snowy night. “Julia”, coupled with the similarly slower “Nanija” provide listeners with the final key that they need to properly understand SamPa. The tracks on “Lampiao” showcase an act that is mature, delightful, and is poised to set jazz on its ear.

Top Tracks: Nanica, Lampiao

Rating: 9.0/10

SamPa – Lampiao / 2009 Self / http://www.myspace.com/sampamusic

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