Octet and Originals, by Debra Jan Bibel – Amazon


After having recently issued two superb albums featuring respectively the music of Milton Nasciamento and Antonio Carlos Jobim, pianist/composer/band leader/educator Antonio Adolfo turns to his own creations. His group consists of the usual suspects found on many of his large discography: Jorge Helder, acoustic bass; Rafael Barata, drums and percussion; Rafael Rocha, trombone; Marcelo Martins, tenor saxophone and flute; and Danilo Sinna, alto saxophone. For this surprisingly varied album, Ricardo Silveira is the guitarist, and of course Adolfo is at the keyboard. The musical sound of Adolfo is mellow, richly arranged jazz with broad harmonies flavored with Brazilian rhythms and the spirit of Rio de Janeiro, his home town, and urban America, site of his Florida music school. This happy, comfortable album of gentle dances and ballads mixed with moderately up-tempo studies is perfect for early evening listening. The opening piece is Heart of Brazil, a sophisticated Cariocan exposition with fine solos of trombone and piano and a bossa beat. Next comes a fusion of the Northeast Brazilian baiao syncopated duple dance meter with boogie-woogie and American saxophone blues. Emaú, the following work, meaning 'it's bad,' has the contemporary connotation, being brassy street funk. With snare drum introduction, Cascavel [Rattlesnake] scoots along with trumpet and guitar solos. Nearly a 1980's TV theme, Pretty World, is a piano-dominant song against saxophone improvisations and guitar licks; so, naturally, the next piece is Teletema, with sweet trombone phrasing. Feito Em Casa [Homemade] is the opportunity for tenor saxophone expansions; it is a long way from Brazil. Minor Chord has noir shadows and Jobim winks. The zabumba is a carried bass drum of the Northeast often heard with a triangle and flute. Zabumbaia takes us to Pernambuco and dancing. Closing out this excellent collection of originals is Toada Moderna, Modern Tune. Quiet, smooth horn harmonies and flowing piano notes leave the listener uplifted and filled with joy. This album so ably demonstrates that Antonio Adolfo, age 75, known for his talent in cover arrangements, also knows a thing or two about writing wonderful originals.