Chora Baiao, by Digital Jazz News

Antonio Adolfo has worked tirelessly and in somewhat relative obscurity as a producer, composer, arranger, label executive and educator while residing in his native Rio de Janeiro and beyond. Adolfo is now focused on his own work with “Chora Baiao” which takes a look at the work of the Brazilian composers Guinga and Chico Buarque while slipping in a few gems of his own composition with stunning results.

While traditional samba is slightly different than some of the more watered down commercial efforts that have been made popular in North America, Adolfo takes the road less traveled with Guinga and Buarque while exploring some different harmonic directions. The Brazilian styles here are the choro and baiao which are two-beat Brazilian styles as opposed to the four-beat Frevo and Samba-Cancao. Combine these elegant forms of Brazilian folkloric music with Adolfo’s jazz sensibilities of a Wynton Kelly or Herbie Hancock and the end result is an infectious fusion of lyrical Brazilian melodies steeped in jazz sensibilities of North America. It is the unexpected use of harmonies and the masterful manipulation of the bass line that keeps the music free flowing and spontaneous while developing its own unique pulse.

Adolfo’s compositions are impeccably placed here and add tremendous depth and character to this virtually flawless presentation. Uruguayan-born guitarist Leo Amuedo shines on the Adolfo tune “Chicote” playing single note runs with precision but not without the musical soul that makes this release special. The work of Buarque who is one of the most important lyricists in Brazil, ranking along side the likes of Jobim is portrayed as an equally brilliant composer. Guinga’s work is similar to Astor Piazolla here with the use of unexpected harmonic invention.

Technically, historically and artistically “Chora Baiao” is brilliant. For those that focus on a less technical approach to evaluate music, especially from Brazil then the same basic review holds true.

Brilliant.