REVIEW: Nanny Assis – Double Rainbow

I have to say that I’m a little surprised to find myself reviewing an album by a Nanny, but I guess I should hasten to add that in this case it’s a name, not a profession. Nanny Assis, a respected Brazilian jazz percussionist and veteran of many concert and recording sessions, has now joined the ranks of artists with their very own solo albums. Double Rainbow is due out in February on the Blue Toucan label, and it’s a mix consisting of a number of familiar Brazilian tunes combined with some new tunes written by Nanny. There’s also at least one surprise, but more later about that.

He’s joined by numerous accompanists – too many to name – which is probably a testament to his wide circle of talented friends, and at the same time an indication that there were probably a number of different recording sessions. (Although that’s not detailed on the album notes.)

Nanny is first and foremost a percussionist, and that’s reflected in the choices of music and arrangements. Within that framework, he’s assembled a good collection of songs that includes several written by Brazilian legend Antonio Carlos Jobim. One of those is the first cut, which is also the album title, “Double Rainbow”, but I really didn’t feel that it was one of the stronger tunes on the album. Either Nanny disagrees with me or he just thought it was a catchy name for his first album.

In any case, I did like most of the others on the album, especially the second track, “A Rã” (Portuguese for toad) a bouncy little thing – groan – that Nanny describes as having an Afro-Brazilian rhythm. He also touches base with Brazilian standards by including a good version of what is probably one of the most recognizable Brazilian jazz tunes, “Mas Que Nada”, and he also includes “Brasileirinho”, a well-known Chorinho.

Another song I enjoyed was “Magalenha”, which is something a little different. I was surprised to hear it described as Brazilian rap, because to me it just sounds like someone singing in a way similar to the other tunes, except really, really fast. An interesting sound, and combined with the drums, very enjoyable. A bigger surprise, though, was the inclusion on the album of “Sorrir (Smile)”, which is – you guessed it – the old standard written by Charlie Chaplin. A soft and pleasing version, even with the Brazilian beat.

Overall, a good effort for a debut album, and if you’re a fan of Brazilian jazz, well worth a listen.

1. Double Rainbow
2. A Rã
3. Bilhete
4. O Pato
5. Nenhum
6. Mas Que Nada
7. Melhor Refrão
8. Magalenha
9. Sorrir (Smile)
10. Brasileirinho
11. Folhas Secas
12. Salsinha Dali Tutu
13. Kiss from a Rose
14. Passarim
15. Revolução Rural
16. Chovendo Na Roseira [Portuguese Version]

Buy the album

Amazon doesn’t have clips up yet, but you can hear them at Allmusic.

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