March 28, 2011 - By Dusty Ray
It comes as no surprise that Carmen Sandim has mastered the intricacies and subtleties of good jazz. A native of Brazil, Sandim has been studying piano since she was seven years old and has numerous awards for her compositional ability. With her latest live cut, Brand New, the listener is presented with her distinct style that bounces between bebop and samba, creating a diverse and smart album sure to keep any jazz fan engrossed.
The album starts out upbeat with “Sampa,” a dynamic 5/4 piece lead on by Sandim’s driving piano which immediately showcases her talent. She takes the reins with certainty and control, all the while allowing for the talent of her band to shine through in elaborate solo sections. The title track “Brand New” is a compositional masterpiece – Sandim’s lashing and strangely dissonant piano rolls over itself, creating an up-tempo tune that lives up to its name in originality. Sandim falls back later in the track, giving room for her trumpet and saxophone players to dominate the solo sections.
“Feliz” echoes with the musical cries of Sandim’s native country, blending samba and bossanova to create a jubilant and dance-worthy tune. Sandim’s soloing ability is at the forefront on this track, and she navigates the tune with ease.
With a diversity of musical styles and influences, Sandim and her sextet have cut a seemingly flawless live album. The energy of the performance is captured beautifully; the band is tight and confident, allowing for Sandim to stand out as a heavy-hitter in the Denver jazz community.