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This Is What Happened by Amanda Ruzza

This Is What Happened by Amanda Ruzza…  It is a great pleasure to get the opportunity to listen to a talented upcoming bassist’s first album. “This Is What Happened” is Amanda Ruzza’s debut CD and it is impressive!

Amanda currently hails from New York City. Born in Sao Paolo, Brazil with Chilean and Italian roots, she got an early start on bass at age 12. Amanda has clearly applied herself over the years and has excelled academically and practically, accumulating a wealth of experience performing with an impressive list of musicians.

This debut CD has five original pieces composed by Amanda herself and she did the arrangements on the other two. The flavor of the CD is a delicious mix of funk, jazz and South American rhythms. The percussion is tight and often simply insane! (In a good way). The rest of the ensemble is highly proficient and the overall blend is highly smooth and polished.

Lets look at the line up:

Amanda Ruzza / electric bass

Mauricio Zottarelli / drums and percussion

Alex Nolan / electric and acoustic guitars

Mamiko Watanabe / Rhodes

Cliff Korman / Piano

David Binney / alto and soprano sax

Lucas Pino / tenor and soprano sax

Chris Stover / trombone

We should take a closer look at some of my favorite cuts.

“Larry and I,” the opening tune starts out with some sweet funk and gets us hooked right away. Just when you think you have it figured out, the Bossa tempo kicks in and the Brazilian sun shines right through. There is ample opportunity for each musician to provide us with a sample of their talent and cut loose. Amanda does her soloing running her sound through a pedal giving it a unique twist; This girl has some serious chops!

“Pagao” transports us to Brazil and gives a good dose of “Old school”Chorinho. Intricate and precise this is the kind of music my aunt brought home for me to hear when I was a kid. Trombone and bass match note-for-note and lay down a core melody; Add soprano sax and the feel is complete. Amanda solos without any effects here and her sound is clean and flawless. If this piece doesn’t make you want to stand up and dance, I don’t know what will!

“Costanera” is what I would call a “Joropo”. This tempo keeps surfacing in CD’s I review from around the world, most lately from Madagascar and Argentina and everyone calls it something different. Anyway you describe this tempo, it is upbeat and makes me think of horses galloping across the plains. The music that rides this beat is perfect and paints a melodic picture of wide-open spaces.

“Pimenta no Choro” brings us some classy Samba! Amada carries this tune with a smooth flow of melodic lines that synch with the intense percussive element (great job Mauricio). Cliff Korman’s piano work and Lucas Pino’s sax bring this tune home with style.

Ok, I think you get the idea here. Amanda Ruzza is a veritable bass powerhouse and you should listen to this CD so you can be blown away right now and watch her excel in the future, which I predict will be very bright!

This Is What Happened by Amanda Ruzza available at and on iTunes

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