Finas Misturas, by Dr. Debra Jan Bibel “World Music Explorer” *****

Many Brazilian jazz albums are improvisations on a strong Brazilian rhythm base, as bossa nova or samba, creating a more Latin jazz sound; but Antonio Adolfo — pianist, composer, and band arranger — is a mainstream jazz man who happens to be Brazilian and writes with Brazilian rhythms in a complex and more subtle fashion. For this album, he employs a sextet for a more intimate sound. Translated, the album title means fine mixtures, but it is more than mixing four of his own compositions with pieces of John Coltrane (Giant Steps and Naima), Dizzy Gillespie (Con Alma), Keith Jarrett (Memories of Tomorrow), Bill Evans (Time Remembered) and Chick Corea/Neville Potter (Crystal Silence). The mixtures are of various regional Brazilian rhythms: toada, baião, quadrilha of the Northeast and the more familiar samba and bossa nova plus calango more associated with the south. Some American blue and Spanish elements are thrown in the stew. The dance rhythms of the Northeast are 4/4 and 2/4. Con Alma, for instance, mixes calango with bossa nova, while Jarrett’s piece is taken slow with a two-beat toada/baião. The album thus is a rich and mellow jazz album, even when it goes up-tempo with Giant Steps with the quadrilha. Adolfo’s own compositions are pleasant and lyrical. Adolfo’s arrangement well captured Bill Evan’s sensitivity and lyricism. The drum work and percussion throughout of Rafael Barta must be acknowledged. Misturando features the electric guitar of Leo Amuedo, and Naima’s heart is provided by the sax and flute of Marcelo Martins. Adolfo’s piano improvisations naturally comes to the front with the Jarrett piece. The Spanish chords of Claudio Spiewak’s acoustic guitar are heard in Crystal Silence. Jorge Helder mans the double bass. Recorded in Rio de Janeiro, mixed in Florida (by guitarist Spiewak), and mastered in California, the album epitomizes a Brazilian-American musical fusion. Finas Misturas is a thoroughly satisfying album.