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 "Coração 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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