A powerful tenor saxophonist whose adventurous flights with his longtime band the Fringe have made him a legend in the Boston area, George Garzone has spent most of his life as a jazz educator. He began on the tenor when he was six, played in a family band, and attended music school in Boston. Garzone first formed his trio the Fringe (a group that in the mid-'90s also included founding member Bob Gullotti on drums and bassist John Lockwood) back in 1972. In addition, Garzone has guested in many situations, touring Europe with Jamaaladeen Tacuma and gigging with Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano, Jack DeJohnette, Rachel Z, and John Patitucci, among others.
America/Brasil is a rollicking, celebratory album that keeps Herbie Mann on the winning streak he started with the release of Peace Pieces in 1995. Recorded during a week of concerts to mark his 65th birthday in April 1995, this disc is much stronger than its immediate predecessor, Celebration, also taken from the same week of live concert performances at New York's Blue Note jazz club. The material here is superb, and the playing top-notch. As the title implies, the emphasis here is on Mann's Brazilian side, but there are touches of the non-Brazilian with Bill Evans' "Peri's Scope" and Miles Davis' "All Blues." "Summertime" is recast in an Afro-Cuban mode with Paquito D'Rivera sharing the solo space on alto sax. However, lengthy Brazilian showstoppers are placed at the beginning, middle, and end of this wonderful disc. The opening "Keep the Spirits Singing" is propelled by the polyrhythmic pulse of percussionists Cyro Baptista and "Café," and the 17-minute title track finale features trumpeters Randy Brecker and Claudio Roditi, trombonist Jim Pugh, and guitarist Romero Lubambo.