Bossa 65, by Pierre Giroux – All About Jazz

Composer, arranger and pianist Antonio Adolfo has a discography which extends to the very early days of the Bossa Nova craze that swept through Brazil and into North America. With his deep roots in the Bossa tradition, Adolfo is an internationally recognized Brazilian jazz personage. Many of his original compositions have been covered by artists such as Sergio Mendes, Herb Alpert and Stevie Wonder among many others. He has also helped to celebrate the work of well-known Bossa players such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Luiz Bonfa and Joao Gilberto. However, there are several individuals from the Bossa movement who are less well recognized, such as Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal; they deserve to be heard, and so their music is featured in this current release.

The ten tracks offered on this session were recorded in Brazil. They provide each composer an equal opportunity to exhibit their creativity. Adolfo was joined by a cohort of outstanding Brazilian musicians, several of whom had participated in previous Adolfo offerings, such as bassist Jorge Helder, percussionist Rafael Barata, and trumpeter Jesse Sadoc. The opening track is by Lyra and is entitled "Coisa Mas Linda"(Most Beautiful Thing). It is a characteristic Bossa number. Adolfo's piano lays out the theme over which he begins a scat vocal which is punctuated throughout the number. There are stellar solos from trombonist Rafael Rocha and guitarist Lula Galvão.

While Lyra's compositions retain the traditional samba underpinnings on "Maria Moita" (Maria Shut-Mouth), he does address some social issues in "Marcha Da Quatra-Feira De Cinzas" (Ash Wednesday March} which is a melancholy ode on returning to real life under the military dictatorship after a joyous Carnival. On "Sabe Voce"(Do You Know) Adolfo's piano opens, to be followed by Sadoc's flugelhorn solo. The lilting melody is picked up by the band over which Aldofo's piano continues to sparkle.

Roberto Menescal's portfolio of compositions may be just slightly better recognized than Lyra's and that may be due to his composition "O Barquinho" (Little Boat) which has been covered by artists too numerous to mention. Adolfo's sparkling arrangement is in full-on samba mode with his piano musings leading the way. Alto saxophonist Danilo Sinna delivers a blistering solo in keeping with the theme. "Rio" is a lip smacking bossa which is propelled by a harmonically complex chart. The front line deliver some tricky unison riffs, and Adolfo's piano playing covers the keyboard, prior to a gleaming solo from trumpeter Sadoc. By any measure, this is a heartfelt tribute to this duo of esteemed composers.