While the current local easy listening scene is littered with derivative bossa nova cover acts, one should remember that there are still bands that can make interesting, creative bossa-influenced music. For every ten or so “In Love With Bossa Nova”s, there are also some gems to be found in today’s easy-listening music crowd. Falling into this category are Sound and Liquid Jane, two of the current music scene’s better jazz/bossa acts.
Sound is probably best known for their single Habulan, a grabbing commentary on the brevity of human life and opportunity. The band blends a mix of influences from bossa, acid, and more traditional rock elements to produce an aural experience that is relaxing yet still lively. If my Filipino reading skills are still functioning correctly, they are also one of Armi Millare’s favorite groups. Certainly, they play a style of music that is different in today’s music scene. The band has undergone lineup changes, but have released two excellent albums in their debut Bossa Manila and the follow-up in Blue Monsoon.
Here’s Sound’s Habulan, from Bossa Manila:
and Bossa (Reprise) from Blue Monsoon:
Meanwhile, where the music of Sound is more laid back, Liquid Jane is more aggressive, like a traditional rock act, at least some of the time. Like Sound, the band features strong influences from jazz and bossa. The two bands also share a tendency to have extravagant titular track openings in their albums, as well as band members- at least one of them has been affiliated with both at one point in time. Nevertheless, the band, composed of Chad Rialp (bass & vox), Erwin Fajardo keyboards & vox), Dru Ubaldo (drums), and Gino Aguas (guitar), plays music that is decidedly different, but equally listenable. Their full-length release Newspaper, Bottle has a bit of the Dave Matthews Band sound in it, and mixing that in addition to an otherwise jazz-based feel, results in a interesting pastiche of genres that can drag at times but is ultimately a very worthwhile listen. In addition to their full-length debut, the band has also released a self-titled EP. Overall, the band doesn’t sound quite as tight as Sound, but they’re certainly very good in their own right.
This is Guillotine from their EP:
Meanwhile, this is Paumanhin, which was featured in both the EP and their subsequent full-lengther:
Remember, the local jazz/easy listening scene isn’t all bossa nova covers, and these two bands are testament to that.
For more on Sound, here are a few links:
For Liquid Jane: