Bossa 65, by Simply Jazz Talk

With a discography that stretches back nearly 60 years, pianist, composer, and arranger, Antonio Adolfo has recorded over 25 albums as a leader. On past albums, Adolfo focused on a particular composer, for example, Jobim Forever (2021) and BruMa: Celebrating Milton Nascimento (2020). It has been 65 years since Bossa Nova was born on the south side of Rio, and on his newest album, Bossa 65: Celebrating Carlos Lyra And Roberto Menescal, Adolfo turns his attention to two great composers who are on the frontline of the creation of this popular and beloved music.

Bossa Nova was probably the most important musical movement to come out of Brazil in the 20th Century. There are many well-known artists associated with Bossa, most notably Antonio Carlos Jobim, but there are others, like Joao Gilberto, Johnny Alf, Joao Donato, Marcos Valle, Durval Ferreira, Mauricio Einhorn, Carlos Lyra, Vinicius de Moraes, Roberto Menescal and Ronaldo Boscoli.

Antonio Adolpho is a very well respected pianist, composer and arranger and there is nothing on this album that might make you question that. As always Antonio has employed first-rate musicians to share the music of Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal and they make it sound so effortless. Adolfo began his professional career as a pianist for the play Pobre Menina Rica (Poor Rich Girl). The tune ‘Samba Do Carioca (Carioca’s Samba)’ was written for the play by Lyra. Adolfo’s version features solos by Adolfo, Sinna on alto sax, and Rocha on trombone.

‘Maria Moita (Maria Shut-Mouth)’, by Lyra, was also composed for Pobre Menina Rica. The composition is a samba and features maracatu elements combined with percussion instruments, such as atabaques (congas) and repique (a kind of Brazilian timbales) and more. Maracatu refers to Brazilian-Afro performance genres from Northeastern Brazil. Another Lyra composition, ‘Marcha Da Quarta-Feira De Cinzas (Ash Wednesday March)’, is a melancholy number that reflects the song’s lyrics, which are a metaphor for returning to real life under the military dictatorship after the joyous days of Carnaval. The alto flute and surdo (bass drum) open the tune, setting the tone. ‘Sabe Voce (Do You Know)’ the final Lyra song on the album, was also in Pobre Menina Rica. In the play, the homeless poet (Lyra) sings the beautiful melody to the rich girl, telling her that she can steal money and have anything she wants except for his poetry and music.

The songs written by Roberto Menescal include ‘Bye Bye Brasil’ with lyrics by Chico Buarque, which was written for the 1980 movie of the same name. The tune features spirited solos by Martins and Galvão. ‘O Barquinho (Little Boat)’ has been recorded a couple of thousand times by musicians around the world. Adolfo’s modern samba arrangement features an explosive alto sax solo by Danilo Sinna. ‘Tete’, with solos by Rocha and Galvao, is a romantic samba-cançao (Brazilian Bolero) dedicated to a beautiful namorada (girlfriend) of one of the composers. This musical style appeared in Brazil in the 1940s and is still used by many composers. ‘Rio’ is a happy Bossa that came out of the south side of Rio during the 1960s when many of the most important compositions were written. ‘Nos E O Mar (We and The Sea)’ is a romantic Bossa. The composition reflects the sun, beaches, happiness, beautiful girls, and romance of Ipanema during the 1960s.

This is a nicely structured, relaxed album of classic Bossa Nova music arranged by one of the greats of Latin music. For those new to Bossa, this would make for a very introduction to the style. For those of us who a little more familiar with this Brazilian musical staple then just sit back and admire the superb solos, wonderful arrangements and quality of production.

Bossa 65: Celebrating Carlos Lyra And Roberto Menescal will be available from June 23rd at and online.

Musicians: Antonio Adolfo – piano, vocal (1); Lula Galvao – guitars; Jorge Helder – double bass; Rafael Barata – drums, percussion (2, 3, 4, 5, 8); Dada Costa – percussion (2, 5, 7); Jesse Sadoc – trumpet, flugelhorn; Danilo Sinna – alto sax; Marcelo Martins – tenor sax, flute; Rafael Rocha – trombone.

Tracklist: 1. Coisa Mais Linda (Most Beautiful Thing). 2. Samba Do Carioca (Carioca’s Samba). 3. Bye Bye Brasil. 4. O Barquinho (Little Boat). 5. Maria Moita (Maria Shut-Mouth). 6. Tete. 7. Marcha Da Quarta-Feira De Cinzas (Ash Wednesday March). 8. Rio. 9. Nos E O Mar (We And The Sea). 10. Sabe Voce (Do You Know).

All tracks arranged by Antonio Adolpho.