Chora Baiao, by Musica Brasileira

Guinga’s, Chico Buarque’s and Antonio Adolfo’s music are the focus in Antonio Adolfo’s latest album, Chora Baião. As with his previous releases, the meticulous selection and arrangements produce again a remarkably enjoyable album. Also as the consummate educator Antonio is, he takes time to write excellent liner notes for this release explaining his choices to feature two of Brazil’s most popular genre, choro and baião.

Guinga (Carlos Althier de Souza Lemos Escobar; born 1950, Rio de Janeiro) has come to Brazilian attention in more recent times, as opposed to Chico Buarque and Antonio Adolfo, both well known performers and composers in the 1960s. Though a dentist by profession (he still practices it), Guinga started learning to play the guitar at age 13, being influenced by one of his neighbors, the famous Helio Delmiro. At age 16, Guinga was already composing. His professional recording debut happened with Cartola. Guinga played the guitar in “As Rosas Não Falam." As for his own compositions, they began being recorded in the early 1970s. In 1991 Guinga released his first solo album, Simples e Absurdo.

Chico Buarque (Francisco Buarque de Hollanda; born 1944, Rio de Janeiro) comes from an intellectual family and is hailed as one of Brazil’s top songwriter. Well known for simple lyrics that carried hidden meanings during the Brazilian military dictatorship in the 1960s and 1970s, Chico Buarque continues producing great music in Brazil and still manages to keep a very low profile in the United States, as opposed to his contemporariesCaetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Ivan Lins and Milton Nascimento — all very well known in the US. In the middle 1960s, his “A Banda" won the top prize in the II Brazilian Popular Music Festival. Also in 1966, Chico released his first solo album. Just about every song in that first album became Brazilian classics: “Tem Mais Samba," “A Rita," “Pedro Pedreiro," “Amanhã, Ninguém Sabe," “Você Não Ouviu," “Olê, Olá," “Sonho de um Carnaval," and of course “A Banda."

Antonio AdolfoThe third member of this outstanding musical triumph is, of course, Antonio Adolfo, arranger, composer, producer and educator. He started his professional musical career in 1963 as a member of the Samba Cinco group playing in the famous Beco das Garrafas area. In 1967 he began a well-known partnership with Tibério Gaspar, which led to the creation of some of Antonio’s first big hits, including “Caminhada," “Tema Triste," “BR 3," “Teletema" and world known “Sá Marina." Antonio Adolfo has worked with some of the best performers in Brazil and abroad, including Beth Carvalho, Elis Regina, Edu Lobo, Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso, Nara Leão, Maria Bethânia Josee Koning, Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick, Herb Alpert, his daughter Carol Saboya and several others. Besides popular hits, he has also written for movies and the theatre and has published didactic books and lectured around the world. For three consecutive years, 1995-1997, he was awarded the Prêmio Sharp for CD releases and compositions.

Chora Baião presents four Guinga songs, three Chico Buarque tunes, one partnership between Chico and Guinga and three compositions by Antonio Adolfo himself. The focus on choro and baião is beautifully performed with Antonio on piano and four brilliant musicians: Leo Amuedo (guitar), Jorge Helder (double bass), Rafael Barata (drums), Marcos Suzano (percussion) and the added guest vocalist Carol Saboya on two tracks. The challenge of performing these difficult compositions is best explained in Antonio’s own words. Guinga “has reinvented Choro and Baião with a distinctive melodic and harmonic approach," and Chico’s “melodies and harmonies display a myriad of possibilities" and “countless other musical innovations."

With the baião opener, Antonio Adolfo proves instantly how capable and comfortable he is performing these compositions. It is his familiarity with the genre that allows him to fit in his own “Chora, Baião" along with these other well known tracks. The pleasure of hearing Guinga’s music in a jazz quintet setting is a joy in itself, and when you add guest vocalist Carol Saboya in “Você, Você," it cannot get any better. It’s heavenly! Her vocalise in “A Ostra e o Vento" solidifies her presence in this album. Chora Baião brings Antonio back with more top-notch albums such as his previous releases dedicated to other Brazilian composers, such as Ernesto Nazareth and Chiquinha Gonzaga.