Bossa 65, by Kev Rowland – House Of Prog

Antonio Adolfo: Bossa 65. Celebrating Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal (2023) | House Of Prog

It has been 65 years since Bossa Nova was born on the south side of Rio, and on his newest album, Adolfo turns his attention to two composers who were on the frontline of the creation of this popular style. Bossa Nova was one of the most important musical movements to come out of Brazil in the 20th Century, and while there are many well-known artists such as Jobim, there are many others who were also important. Here Adolfo has turned his attention to Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal, considering the former to be his musical mentor and godfather. The album was recorded in Brazil, with pianist Adolfo being joined by Lula Galvao (guitars), Jorge Helder (double bass), Rafael Barata (drums and percussion), Dada Costa (percussion), Jesse Sadoc (trumpet and flugelhorn), Danilo Sinna (alto sax), Marcelo Martins (tenor sax and flute), and Rafael Rocha (trombone).

Many of these songs originally had vocals, but Adolfo has rearranged them, so they are presented here to us as instrumentals. He has worked with both composers in the past, and knows their music intimately, which has allowed him to be sympathetic to the originals and ensure they still retain their beauty and grace even though he has taken them into new directions. This is the perfect music for a sunny Sunday morning, setting the listener up for the day ahead while relaxing with an espresso. It evokes the feeling of Brazil, bouncy and full of colour and joy, and Adolfo enjoys playing the part of arranger and band leader, never feeling he has to be at the centre of attention but always ensuring the horns are there where they need to be, front and centre while he provides the supporting role, just adding nuances where the time is right. It is a great salute to the world of Bossa Nova, one which will be enjoyed by anyone into that genre or Latin influenced soft jazz.