Antônio Mello, Dexter Payne & Thiago de Mello

Inspiration (Dexofon Records)

Why is a CD-release party taking place for an album that originally came out in 2003? Because Inspiration, which is being celebrated by Denver-based clarinetist Payne during a Thursday, February 17, show at Dazzle, is hitting stores in the States over a year after it reached Brazil, where it was recorded.

The music here is South American jazz of a very gentle sort, making the names of guitarist Mello and percussionist de Mello, Payne's primary collaborators, seem particularly appropriate. Tracks such as "CoraĂ§Ă£o Latino (Latin Heart)" shimmy along to familiar Ipanema grooves, while "Marte (Mars)" sways throughout despite its stop-and-start structure. Payne is a talented player, and he gets plenty of mileage out of an instrument that doesn't seize the spotlight as often as it once did. Still, the music as a whole is better suited to the background. A little more perspiration would have done Inspiration a world of good.

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