About Circlechant on High Note Records
by Russell Arthur Roberts
“If Santi Debriano's Circlechant is indicative of a new direction in the fusion of world music and jazz, then I'm climbing on the bandwagon. It is pervaded with beautiful melodies, as was Stan Getz's albums that melded bossa nova with jazz. But that is where the similarity parts. For one, Debriano's music is much more diversified as well as complex... If after listening you are not enraptured by its music, as I was, then I recommend that you get psychological counseling to put you in touch with your feelings.”
Jazz in NYC: Santi Debriano at Smalls
By Phillip Booth
On Jan. 20 at Smalls in the West Village, still one of Manhattan’s most intimate and most affordable jazz venues, the Panamanian-born bassist led a group with two other journeyman jazzers — tenor saxophonist Craig Handy and pianist Bill O’Connell — and Living Colour’s Will Calhoun (playing a small Canopus drumset).
The quartet, for its first set that Saturday night, played mostly originals, starting with “Ripty Moon,” built on a bluesy bass groove; Debriano capped his solo with flamenco-style hard strums, flourishes atypical in jazz. “Natural Causes,” the title track from a recent Debriano album, began with unison and harmony bass/sax lines, opened up for a ballad section and featured a bass solo incorporating bowed figures.
“Lexi’s Song,” a medium-tempo piece penned by Handy, offered a pretty melody; Handy, for his solo, deployed a series of octave jumps, and Calhoun was featured on a trading-8s section. The group closed with an inspired, swinging take on the standard “My One and Only Love.”
With its members drawing from various shades of jazz, Latin music, and even rock (Calhoun), Debriano’s band is a highly interactive, creative unit. They make a great vehicle for the bassist’s compositions; he said he’s hoping to record with this quartet soon.
Side note: Santi Debriano probably doesn’t recall borrowing my bass for his performance, years ago, at the Child of the Sun Jazz Festival at Florida Southern College in Lakeland. My group played the now-defunct fest earlier in the day, and he decided he’d rather use my upright than the one that FSC had made available to him.