Samuel is a Brazilian-born drummer currently based in New York, and here he is taking the Latin styles of his homeland and mixing and melding them with jazz in a way that is both inventive and inviting.
There is a lightness and deftness of touch in his playing, and while he keeps everything moving from the back, he rarely takes the lead himself and concentrates more on drums than adding additional layers of percussive complexity. Six of the eight songs are originals, and by having a simple quartet of Claudio Roditi (trumpet, flugelhorn), Marcus McLaurine (bass) and Tomoko Ohno (piano). The musicians all have considerable history behind them, with Claudio best-known for working with Dizzy Gillespie, and they bounce ideas off each other, dropping in and out of taking leads, and letting each other have plenty of room to breathe. It just isn’t possible to listen to this without a smile, and gently nodding the head as this is what jazz is all about, great musicians just playing and having fun.
For a debut album, this is an incredibly enjoyable release: we are going to be hearing a great deal more from Samuel Martinelli, which is definitely a name to keep an eye on. 8/10 by Kev Rowland