Ensemble NovoThis Is Ensemble Novo! And Carinhoso Frosty Cordial

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Twin EP releases continue the samba-jazz band’s decade-long exploration of enduring classics and under-appreciated songs from across Brazil.

This spring, Philadelphia five-piece Ensemble Novo returns with inspired re-inventions of bossa nova, samba, and Musica Popular Brazil (MPB) on two EPs. Recorded live in the studio, This Is Ensemble Novo! and Carinhoso find the group further evolving its distinct niche – a warm, approachable sound in which gorgeous Brazilian melodies are gently expanded through group interaction and improvisation.

Among the standouts: A version of Jobim’s “O Grande Amor” featuring a nine-piece string section; cinematic re-imaginings of Joao Gilberto’s signature “E Preciso Perdoar” and Edu Lobo’s “Zanzibar,” and Pixinguinha’s “Carinhoso” cast as a lush late-night ballad.

Representing a deeper dive into the Brazilian songbook, the new releases reflect the chemistry  Ensemble Novo has developed through a monthly residency at Philadelphia’s beloved Time Restaurant and other venues. “These were recorded just before the coronavirus and the lockdowns,” says saxophonist Tom Moon. “We’d been playing together a lot and that’s audible, especially on the quiet pieces. We want to be the soundtrack for your next slow dance.”

The twin EPs are the followup to 2017’s Who Saw You Then , which was a “Most Added” at both JazzWeek and NACC Jazz ‘Most Added’ Chart; it spent 13 weeks in the JazzWeek Top 100, peaking at #36.

Ensemble Novo has performed at the Center City Jazz Festival and Cape May’s Exit 0 Jazz Festival, Time, Heritage, Longwood Gardens, World Café Life and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, among other venues.

Ryan McNeely: Guitar, Cavaquinho – Behn Gillece: vibraphone – Tom Moon: saxophone, flute – Mark Przyblowski: bass – Jim Hamilton: Percussion.

Ft. The Strychnine Strings on -This Is Ensemble Novo!
Violin: Sasha Ki (Concertmaster); Vilme K. Joselin; Zoe Lunch; Byron Pondexter; Alberta Douglas; Hanna Joedan; Maggy Simon

Cello: Justin Yoder, Erin Busch