Tracings is the latest CD by saxophonist Mike Tracy. It’s a fine recording of Brazilian-inspired jazz played by a great group of musicians. The core band consists of Tracy on tenor and soprano saxophones, Renato Vasconcellos on keyboards, Tyrone Wheeler on bass and Terry O’Mahoney on drums. In addition, Steve Allee sits in on piano on the track "August 5", Erivelton Silva sits in on drums on "September 15", Pat Lentz plays guitar and Greg Byrne plays percussion on "Melancia" and "Vera Cruz" and Kathy Jordan lends her vocal elegance to great effect as a backing instrument on "Vera Cruz".
While Tracy is not a virtuosic saxophonist, he’s a solid player with a big sound and some interesting improvisational ideas. He particularly shines on "September 15" (one of the two tunes penned by Vasconcellos - the other is "August 5"). It’s a laid back mid-tempo number. His solo is sure and lyrical, exploring the entire range of his tenor. "Tracing" is another of the brighter moments on this disc. Composed by pianist Allee, it has a Wayne Shorter-ish feel to it, with a beautiful melody and angular changes. This album also features two tunes by Antonio Carlos Jobim ("Favela" and "Once I Loved"), a tune by the great Brazilian artist Milton Nascimento ("Vera Cruz"), Rique Pantoja’s "Melancia" and Hermeto Pascoal’s "Balaio".
This is a great collection of tunes, played by an inspired band that seems to have a real spiritual connection to the music. A great effort that is definitely worth a listen.