La e Ca, by Musica Brasileira

After teaming up in 2007 for the Ao Vivo (Live) album, Antonio Adolfo and Carol Saboya got together again and recorded Lá e Cá (Here and There). Just as U.S. and world musicians have done with a Brazilian repertoire, Antonio and Carol went the opposite direction and selected a few American standards, blended them with some Brazilian classics and added their personal touch to give this album an all Brazilian feel. As Antonio himself says in the liner notes, “phrasing is the way that different musicians interpret the various elements of music (melody, harmony, and rhythm)." Together Antonio and Carol master the art of phrasing with flying colors!

Lá e Cá (Here and There) features Carol Saboya in five inspired vocals with the remaining tracks all being instrumentals. Carol’s voice continues to enthrall and delight, and her command of English is perfect and makes her feel just as easy singing a Cole Porter classic or a Tom Jobim gem. The album augments the traditional piano (Antonio Adolfo), bass (Jorge Helder) and drum (Rafael Barata) approach with the addition of guitar master Leo Amuedo and trombone wiz Sergio Trombone. The instrumental quintet is perfect together, and when Carol adds her own vocal instrument, the album soars magically.

Antonio Adolfo & Carol SaboyaOpening the album, Antonio’s own 1974 composition “Cascavel" gets this fine repertoire off to an excellent start. The melody is demanding and allows, in particular, Antonio, Rafael and Jorge to showcase their individual craft. A little over two minutes into the track, Jorge has a commanding bass solo clearly asserting his place among the greatest bass players in contemporary Brazilian and jazz music.

The first time we hear Carol in the album is in the classic Kern-Hammerstein’s “All the Things You Are." As if her voice alone were not enough to captivate the listener, we hear precisely what Antonio had in mind with his concept of Brazilian phrasing bringing “authenticity and originality to any type of music from any culture." It also helps that Antonio cleverly added Dori Caymmi‘s “Amazon River" as an interlude in this arrangement. Whether using an interlude or simply a medley of Brazilian and U.S. melodies, this approach works very well in this release. It is not overdone at all and genuinely shows the careful and meticulous research that went into putting this album’s selections together. Listeners will enjoy Tom Jobim’s “Garoto" played along with George Shearing’s “Lullaby of Birdland" and again in the other two medleys, “Every Time We Say Goodbye/Nuvens Douradas" and “Toada Jazz/Night and Day."

Lá e Cá (Here and There) is pleasing from the first to the last note, but there are two superb moments that will definitely give you that sudden realization of a master’s touch. The first is Carol’s rendition of “A Night in Tunisia." Her phrasing and pure joy in singing this classic is abundantly clear. The fast tempo is magical, and Sergio’s trombone solo after Carol’s dreamy vocalise seals this arrangement. If only every arranger had the vision and skill to do what Antonio created, music would never be dull or uninspiring. The second great moment of the album is in the medley of Porter and Jobim in “Every Time We Say Goodbye/Nuvens Douradas." That Cole Porter and George Gershwin are closely related to Brazilian music has been shown in other albums by other artists. Here, Antonio takes this melodical affinity a step further. He is visionary. This album brings together two cultures into one musical world. Never has U.S. music sounded so Brazilian and authentic!