"A most successful fusion between Brazilian tradition and modern jazz... The arrangements could not be more elegant and sophisticated, leaving ample space for the soloists to deliver their performances. There is an underlying joy to Adolfo's music. Overall, this is music that could not be more pleasing to the ear."
Antonio Adolfo is a highly regarded Brazilian pianist, composer, arranger and educator who deserves wider recognition in the U.S. Celebrating his 76th birthday this month, Adolfo's background proves quite diverse, having studied with the likes of Eumir Deodato on one side of the ocean and the legendary Nadia Boulanger on the other. He has toured with Flora Purim, Elis Regina and Milton Nascimento, among others; recorded with Sergio Mendes, Stevie Wonder and Dionne Warwick; and released more than 25 albums under his own name since 1977 on his Antonio Adolfo Music (AAM) label, many of which have been nominated for Latin Grammy and Grammy Awards. The title of his most recent effort, Octet and Originals, is self-explanatory in terms of the instrumentation and the repertoire. The ten originals are dedicated to Brazilian music in its many shapes and forms—samba, baiao, bossa, partido alto, quadrilha, toada, calango and maracatu. Yet this is a most successful fusion between Brazilian tradition and modern jazz, in which Adolfo has a strong tradition (listen to his 2017 Hybrido—From Rio to Wayne Shorter). The group here is as tight as it gets and includes wonderful musicians who, like Adolfo, may not be well known outside Brazil. Of note are Danilo Sinna's sinuous alto sax and Rafael Rocha's slightly hoarse trombone. The arrangements could not be more elegant and sophisticated, leaving ample space for the soloists to deliver their performances. "Teletema" is a case in point. Following a Bill Evans-esque piano intro by Adolfo, the piece recalls Maria Schneider's best Brazil-inspired pages, such as "Concert in the Garden" and "Winter Morning Walks". There is an underlying joy to Adolfo's music, well encapsulated in "Zamumbaia", which is carried by Marcelo Martins' delightful flute. Boogie ("Baiao") and blues/funk ("Feito") are also integral to Adolfo's rich mélange. "Toada Moderna" rounds out a well-conceived program on a somber note showcasing the leader's delicate touch at the piano and Jesse Sadoc's dramatic sound on trumpet. One final word should go to the outstanding rhythm section which sustains, drives and floats at the same time, below and above the music, providing an elastic yet firm anchor. Overall, this is music that could not be more pleasing to the ear. For more info, visit antonioadolfomusic.com