Brazilian pianist/composer/arranger Antonio Adolfo supplements his 2018 big band release, Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica, with a similar project showcasing his arrangements of nine compositions by Antonio Carlos Jobim. A professional musician since age 17, Adolfo has primarily been involved with singers and small ensembles during the course of his forty year career. He’s released more than 25 albums under his name, and he’s also been busy as an educator and writer about Brazilian music. With recognizable melodies that are always enchanting, the nine songs on Jobim Forever also feature many of the same talented artists on Adolfo’s 2018 album, including Jorge Helder (bass), Rafael Barata (drums), Jesse Sadoc (trumpet, flugelhorn), Marcelo Martins (tenor sax, flute), Dada Costa (percussion), Ze Renato (vocals), and others.
Emphasizing Jobim’s songs from the 1960s, Adolfo wanted to reinvent them to celebrate that era of music and the contribution of Jobim’s musical innovations to world culture. Adolfo explains his approach to giving them new life. “When I create arrangements for my albums, I play the music literally dozens of times on the piano until I start to feel a kind of partnership with the composer. After I thoroughly absorb the music, I can start hearing my own voice emerge, and I then can create the different harmonies, meters, phrasing, and forms that I adapt to the instruments in my concept.”
So whether it be a swinging big band rendition of “The Girl from Ipanema” or an arrangement of “Wave” typically used for Brazilian singers, Adolfo manages to tastefully color his arrangements with the different voices of flugelhorn, flute, sax and trombone in conversations with his own effervescent piano. Vocalist Ze Renato establishes the motif of ”A Felicidade,” and “Favela” is a Bossa lament reharmonized in a minor blues style while “Agua de Beber” is driven with re-imagined chord voicings. “Por Toda a Minha Vida” performed on piano and bowed bass serves as an introduction to “Amparo” arranged in a Guarania style with sonorous sounds and melancholic rhythms. “Wave” and “Estrada do Sol” are nice showpieces for guitarist Lula Galvao. Antonio Adolfo lets his music reflect what’s in his heart, and that clearly is a love for timeless music that conveys emotional power, pleasing aesthetics and worldly views from an intellectual state of mind. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)