Antonio Adolfo has garnered many Grammy and Latin Grammy nominations for his over two dozen albums as a leader. I have had the distinct pleasure to review several of those albums and I own almost all of them.
He is known for the brilliant arrangements and performances for Latin greats, especially Jobim. On Octet and Originals, however, it is Antonio’s originals that are highlighted by this marvelous band, a collective of artists who have served Antonio’s vision and sound before. Of them he says, “There is nothing better than being able to count on a group of wonderful musicians who have recorded with me on my most recent projects. They are all excellent, and I also dedicate this work to them.”
The band is comprised of Jessé Sadoc on trumpet and flugelhorn, Danilo Sinna on alto sax, Marcelo Martins on tenor sax and flute, Rafael Rocha on trombone, Ricardo Silveira on guitar, Jorge Helder on double bass, and Rafael Barata on drums and percussion). These artists are marvelous and just the right players for Antonio’s music.
Several of the compositions on Octet and Originals have been heard on other albums but they have been rearranged for this large ensemble project. And they are worth hearing again. And again.
Anchored in the musical styles and genres of his native Brazil, Antonio has reinterpreted the sounds into a thoroughgoing Jazz collection. Sure, you can hear the samba, the bossa nova, and so many other styles, but this is a great Jazz album.
In addition to all, never forget that Antonio Adolfo is a masterful pianist. In fact, I find myself focusing on his piano—another reason to listen to this new release multiple times. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I can’t get enough of Antonio Adolfo.
The album’s song are thematic, as in Heart of Brazil which is concerned with the Amazon rainforest, and they are rhythmic, as in Boogie Baião. From a waltz, like Teletema, to the minor chords of Minor Chord, Antonio crosses every frontier and category. There is no musical barrier that Antonio doesn’t want to jump over, no musical entrenched style that he doesn’t want to storm and adapt them all into something of exquisite beauty, the beauty of soulistic transformation.
One of the enjoyable pieces on the album is Feito em Casa (English: Made at Home). This is a big band lover’s treasure. Great piano lines, hot horns, and exciting rhythms and percussion. This is the tune I found myself humming long after the album was finished.
The album closes with Toada Moderna, a wonderful tribute to Bill Evans. Evans plays such a large part in Antonio’s musical vocabulary that this is a fine and fitting close to such a (and yet another) remarkable album by Antonio.
Octet and Originals is everything that we love and anticipate from Antonio Adolfo. From the moment we open the CD, we are filled with, not expectation, but expectancy. We don’t know what is coming but we know it will be wonderful.
Because, with Antonio Adolfo, it always is.
~Travis Rogers, Jr. is The Jazz Owl