The name translates from Portuguese as “crossed ways,” and in this trio electric jazz guitar crosses ways with acoustic flamenco guitar and Afro-Latin rhythms played on the Peruvian cajon, a box-like drum, cross ways with the guitars. The common ground is Brazilian music; the melodic, rhythmically gentle but insistent bossa novas of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Baden Powell, among others. The jazz guitarist is Dan Balmer, for 40 years one of Portland’s finest, and one of America’s finest, known for his work with Count Dutch, Jim Pepper, Tom Grant, Diane Schuur, the Mel Brown Quartet and his own bands. The flamenco guitarist is Nat Hulskamp, an ethnomusicologist fluent in world music traditions ranging from the Middle Eastern oud to Eastern European gypsy swing. The cajon player, who also doubles on bongos, is Israel Annoh, a native of Ghana and a longtime Portland resident who played with Obo Addy and Thara Memory. It adds up to one of Portland’s best-kept secrets, a band that can provide a suitable soundtrack at your local bistro, but which sounds better and better the closer you listen. I am looking forward to the day when I can hear them live again.
Author, Jazz In the New Millennium (Dharma Moon Press, 2014)
Host, Jazz in the New Millennium, nationally syndicated radio program
Former artistic director, Houston International Festival