Favorite Icon, Full size
Album Review: Florescer
Rebecca Hass
Cover image of the album Florescer by Rebecca Hass
Rebecca Hass
2018 / Rebecca Hass
43 minutes
Review by Kathy Parsons
Florescer is the exciting debut album from pianist/composer Rebecca Hass, and what a delightful 43 minutes of musical sunshine it is! The eleven original compositions and arrangements were composed and arranged in a Brazilian style with vibrant rhythms, energetic piano and an infectious zest for life! The Portuguese title translates to “Bloom,” which has several meanings for Hass, including a reference to her family of horticulturists and other “botanically gifted people.” In addition to Rebecca’s brilliant piano playing, the album features Tim O’Keefe, an expert in many hand-drumming styles from around the world; Jenny Klukken on marimba; and Laura Harada on violin. The music is described as “somewhere between jazz and classical, but definitely Brazilian,” and if you can sit still while listening to the livelier tracks, you might want to check your pulse!

While attending Ithaca College to earn a classically-oriented degree in piano, Rebecca took every non-classical music class she could, including a survey of Latin American music that changed the course of her life and career. Returning to Minnesota shortly after graduation, Rebecca joined Batucada do Norte, a local Brazilian drum group that she still belongs to. She also took classes with master Brazilian musicians to learn about the various styles and sub-genres of the music she had become so passionate about. I’m no authority on Latin music, but I was amazed to discover that the album isn’t solely a collection of traditional Brazilian music. but also includes original pieces by an American woman! Love it!!! Currently living in Minnesota, Rebecca is also a coach who supports artists and their creative habits through wellness.

Florescer begins with “Aracatu Do Manatim,” an original piece about crime-fighting manatee. Bursting with rhythmic energy, the piano and percussion perform a playful dance that serves as the perfect introduction to Rebecca Hass’ music. “Gingando” is a lively and colorful duet for piano and marimba with added percussion. A choro with traditional form and a modern flavor, it will keep your toes tapping from start to finish! “Samba de Orly” is a spirited classic in the genre, performed with piano and percussion. “Baiao da Bicicleta,” for piano and percussion, soars high as its infectious groove dances all over the piano keyboard. “Naquele Tempo” makes me think of a warm tropical evening on a beach with slow dancers moving gracefully to the rhythm. This is one of a couple of pieces that makes me think of Scott Joplin’s more unconventional rags. “Tico-Tico No Fuba” is a classic choro with samba tamborim parts and baiao basslines on the piano. This one feels a little bit like ragtime, too - lively, playful and has several different themes. Jenny Klukken returns on marimba for the exotic “Brincalhao.” “Alvorada” and “Folhas Secas” are classic sambas arranged for piano and percussion. Beautiful melodies and catchy rhythms are both memorable and fun to listen to. The closing track, “Anelante,” is in a traditional choro form mixed with “a heavy dose of Debussy.” Laura Harada joins Rebecca with her violin, making this an evocative, sensual duet.

What a great first album! Very likely to be one of my Favorites for 2018, Florescer is available from www.RebeccaHass.com, Amazon, iTunes and CD Baby.
December 13, 2018
This review has been tagged as:
Debut AlbumsKathy's Favorites: 2018Kathy's Picks