Finas Misturas, by Tony Augarde (UK)

One of my favourite Beach Boys songs is called "The Warmth of the Sun" and that is a phrase that might well be applied to this album. One can feel the warmth of the sun throughout the album, which mixes Brazilian pianist Antonio Adolfo's compositions with several well-chosen jazz standards.

The album title can be translated as "fine mixtures" and Adolfo's group cooks up some appetizing mixtures of sound. As Adolfo explains in the sleeve-note, the main mixture fuses jazz with Brazilian rhythms. But drummer Rafael Barata is very subtle in the way he underlines the Brazilian rhythms. These rhythms are often suggested by the way that the musicians play, rather than through beating them out heavily on percussion. The musicians are in tune (literally and figuratively) with Adolfo's tranquil approach, with a legato touch which makes his piano improvisations seem to float weightlessly.

This quality is immediately noticeable in the opening Floresta Azul (Blue Forest), where Marcelo Martins' delicate flute states the melody above Antonio's fluid piano. Balada (Ballad) achieves a similarly calm mood with piano and acoustic guitar blending sympathetically. Adolfo's other compositions on this CD are Misturando (Mixing), which illustrates the album's title, with all six musicians combining harmoniously, and Tres Meninos (Three Little Boys) which has nothing to do with Rolf Harris's Two Little Boys but is a catchy samba with a party atmosphere.

Among the pieces written by other people, Adolfo has chosen two of John Coltrane's most famous compositions. Giant Steps is given the hint of a Brazilian rhythm and attractive solos from Adolfo on piano and Marcelo Martins on tenor sax, both flowing freely through the ever-changing chords. The ballad Naima uses Marcelo Martins on flute to state the theme and improvise on it with sensitivity before Antonio solos with equal delicacy.

Dizzy Gillespie's Con Alma is one of the highlights in a highlit album, with Leo Amuedo's electric guitar providing theme and improvisation, and Marcelo Martins' tenor sax swirling melodically. Works by Keith Jarrett (Memories of Tomorrow), Chick Corea and Neville Potter (Crystal Silence) and Bill Evans (Time Remembered) are delivered with similar finesse. Every track on the album has a refined subtlety which makes it ideal for close listening or simply for relaxation.

Tony Augarde