Q & A
By Adela Brito
On his debut album, Q & A, percussionist Doug Hinrichs serves up an interesting mix of jazzy, funky world beats. Upon my first listen, I realized portions of these songs could find their way into the albums of two of my favorite musicians: Paul Simon and the French guitarist, Marc Antoine. This made me like the album right away!
Hinrichs plays percussion, steel drums, keyboards, and sings on one of the two tracks containing vocals. The musicians joining Hinrichs are Brad Mason on trumpet and flugelhorn, Ed Love on flute, Ze Luis on guitar and flute, Erik Friedlander on cello, and Samantha Balassa on vocals. This mix of instruments contributes to the genre-crossing songs which make up Q & A.
"Swang" opens with some African rhythms, but quickly turns into a quick-paced light jazz piece. The title track is an upbeat mix of jungle rhythms, with the flute adding a nice touch. "Samba G" and "Minha Paixåo" are Brazilian-influenced compositions. On the latter, Samantha Balassa provides vocals in Portuguese. The fourth track is an instrumental version of this song. Other notable songs on Q & A are "Figure You Out," on which Hinrichs provide vocals, "Sic 'Em," and "Closer Groove."
When asked about his music and his influences, Hinrichs said there were certain moments, live performances or recordings, which made indelible impressions on him. Among them is a live performance at a Sting concert by Mino Cinelu, the French-Caribbean percussionist. As he left the concert, Hinrichs said, "That's what I want to do!" There are two albums, which made a great impression on Hinrichs - Steely Dan's Katy Lied and Ivan Lins' Awa Yio. Rhythmically and lyrically, they were quite inspirational for him.
However, the greatest influence on Hinrichs was watching Giovanni Hidalgo, the conguero, play a five-minute solo. The feelings of awe and inspiration still come to mind when Hinrichs plays congas. He feels that what makes a musician better, as well as inspires his audience and band mates, is when he plays what he feels more so than just playing what he knows. Playing it safe doesn't inspire, but not knowing what comes next is a way of connecting and affecting the audience.
Hinrichs' feelings about music certainly come through on his first effort, Q & A. This album is not your ordinary, one genre album. It's a fine mix of all kinds of beats and hard-to-define sounds, making it that much more enjoyable.
Published May 29, 2006
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