It is a bit ironic that the last great composer who contributed many standards to the Great American Songbook was not from the U.S. but from Brazil. Although he was not alone, Antonio Carlos Jobim (1927-94) was largely responsible for bossa-nova catching on in a similar way that Scott Joplin made ragtime into a national sensation six decades before. Jobim’s ability to compose songs that were both highly appealing and a bit melancholy, all of them accompanied by gentle Brazilian rhythms, popularized a style of music that is still played constantly today.
Veteran pianist Antonio Adolfo has been a major musician in Brazil since the 1960s and has led at least 25 albums to date. Since Jobim was an important early inspiration (and Adolfo had the opportunity to know the composer), a tribute to his music was long overdue.
Utilizing a four-horn nonet, Adolfo performs nine Jobim songs, all but 1956’s “A Felicidade” date from the 1960’s. Starting with “The Girl From Ipanema” and including such classics as “Wave” and “How Insensitive” (which has the set’s only vocal by Ze Renato) plus some lesser-known but rewarding pieces, Adolfo not only contributes rewarding piano solos but inventive arrangements that make the songs sound particularly fresh and lively. Along the way there are concise solos from virtually all of the sidemen. Trumpeter Jesse Sadoc and trombonist Rafael Rocha are standouts although every musician is top-notch..
Jobim Forever is an easy album to enjoy and it does full justice to the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim. Thus far, every recording of Antonio Adolfo that I have heard is recommended and this one (available from www.antonioadolfomusic.com) is certainly no exception.