BOSSA 65, by Debra Jan Bibel – Amazon Music US

In the 1930s and 1940s, Americans regarded Brazilian music as only the samba and associated it with Carmen Miranda, ignorant of the great art of choro and the various dance beats and instrumentation of the Northeast. Then in the early 1960s came to these shores a new sound and peculiar, distinct rhythm that instantly grabbed audiences through jazz. It was the bossa nova, and Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto became instant stars, along with advocates saxophonist Stan Getz and guitarist Charlie Byrd. Bossa Nova was frequently heard on television variety shows, and Jobim performed with Sinatra. Composer, arranger, pianist, band leader, and educator Antonio Adolfo has been issuing numerous albums of small and large ensembles performing contemporary and traditional Brazilian music in sophisticated jazz style, and he recently focused on Jobim in a much esteemed album. This time he focuses on two bossa nova pioneers that are poorly known in the United States but admired in Brazil: Roberto Menescal and Carlos Lyra. The Rio de Janerio ensemble includes musicians who participated in earlier albums: drummer and perussionist Rafael Barata, Marcelo Martins on tenor saxophone and flute, alto saxophonist Danilo Sinna, bassist Jorge Helder, trumpeter Jesse Sadoc, trombonist Rafael Rocha, guitarist Lula Galvao, and percussionist Dada Costa. The warm arrangements of the pieces have a full harmonic, mature, contemporary feeling, rich with the experience of history, not with the simpler frontier spirit of six decades ago. The stylish, mellow renditions conjure a cinema version of a West Coast cool jazz night club, and the musical selections themselves have origins in film and stage dramas. Cosa Mais Linda by Lyra with Vinicius de Moraes opens the set, and we are treated with an unusual trombone solo and brief scat by Adolfo himself. While that was classic bossa, the following work, Samba do Carioca shows its roots with percussive ornamentation. Menescal's Bye Bye Brasil, composed for a 1980 movie, indeed has a feeling of travel helped by fast drum beats and tenor saxophone and guitar solos. The very familiar O Barquinho has piano against brass and the alto saxophone's spicy solo. Tete, different in form, an older samba-cançao bolero, is a sensual, relaxed romantic dance.The deep bass drum of Brazil, the surdo, introduces Lyra's Ash Wednesday March, whose lyrics were a sad commentary on leaving Carnival for political realities. Getting back to the joy of Bossa is Menescal's Rio, with trumpet solo, follow by his romantic beach scene of Nos e O Mar. The album concludes with Sabe Voce, also from Lyra's music for drama, speaks of priceless poetry and music. The now trademark smooth sound of Antonio Adolfo — suave, sonorous, and brassy with piano, guitar, and percussion —is here again to enjoy.