I do not think there is any other composer in Brazil busier and more prolific than Antonio Adolfo. The last time I reviewed one of his albums was back in 2016 (Tropical Infinito). Since then, he has released five outstanding CDs. That does not include special appearances in other people’s works, concerts, and everything else an artist does. In 2020 alone, the count is up to two new CDs since mid-March. What makes this feat even more amazing is that Adolfo maintains a high level of quality in his works.
The first album I want to highlight briefly is the bossa-infused songbook of Antonio Adolfo and Tibério Gaspar, Vamos Partir pro Mundo, which brings together Antonio Adolfo and Leila Pinheiro. This musical marriage could only have been made in heaven! Pinheiro’s long-standing career has often shown a strong presence of Bossa Nova in her works. She’s recorded, for example, a few albums with Bossa Nova icon Roberto Menescal, who is also the guitarist in this release. He is featured in fourteen out of the fifteen tracks here. Pinheiro’s name is often present along with great artists, such as Dan Costa, Gustavo Baião, Edu Leal, Nelson Faria, Léo Gandelman, and others. To bring her voice to these fifteen classics penned by Adolfo/Gaspar is a joy to everyone’s ears. The album includes worldwide gems such as “Sá Marina” (or “Pretty World,” as performed by Stevie Wonder and Sergio Mendes) as well as Brazilian hits, including “Teletema.” Vamos Partir pro Mundo is testimony of a great partnership between songwriters (together, Adolfo and Gaspar had over 50 great songs) and performers. The album is full of bossa and unforgettable music.
The other album just released this last week of June 2020 is an impressive tribute to the music of Milton Nascimento. The album is titled BruMa – Celebrating Milton Nascimento. Whereas Vamos Partir pro Mundo is more Bossa Nova sounding, BruMa is definitely more jazz. A strong and remarkable brass ensemble gives this familiar music a whole new sound. Trumpets, saxes, flutes, and flugelhorn are joined with electric and acoustic guitars to create this fine tribute. Of course, arrangements are by Adolfo himself. The musicians he invited for the recording are top-notch. It is literally a who’s-who in their own fields. These are some of the names you should already know: Jorge Helder (double bass), Rafael Barata (drums), Jessé Sadoc (trumpet and flugelhorn), Marcelo Martins (sax and flute), Lula Galvão and Léo Amuedo (guitars). An interesting point about the album title – BruMa – is that it brings to the forefront two large environmental disasters that happened in Minas Gerais (Brumadinho in 2015 and Mariana in 2019). Adolfo wanted to keep Nascimento’s fight and other groups in Brazil to “ensure that the damage to the territory of Minas Gerais is not forgotten.” BruMa (the word is Portuguese for “mist”) celebrates Nascimento with nine tracks that cover a pretty relevant sample of his music, both as a performer and a songwriter. From the opener “Fé Cega, Faca Amolada” to the closing “Tristesse,” you will have a superb selection and rendition of Nascimento’s classics, such as “Nada Será Como Antes,” “Outubro,” and “Cais.” This is Nascimento’s music like you’ve never heard it before, and with the quality you would expect from Adolfo.