Octet And Originals, by Richard J Salvucci – All About Jazz


Some people can probably say what they were doing the first time they heard modern Brazilian music. The first wave hit in the early '60s with Vinicius De Moraes and Antonio Carlos Jobim, but there has been a great deal of water over the dam since then. Stylistic variety, regional variations, new composers, two generations of players, technical advances in both recording and instrumental technique have all played a part in establishing Brazilian as some of the most listenable music. Yet none of that has altered its fundamental beauty, charm and effortless swing. And Antonio Adolfo has long been right in the middle, as pianist, composer, arranger and bandleader. The results are almost inevitably tasty and sophisticated.

Octet and Originals is no different, except insofar as it is all Adolfo's original music. True, what you find here has been shorn of accompanying lyrics (and the melodious Brazilian Portuguese is part of the music's charm), but there is a helpful (sort of) phoneticized version of the titles. The musicians are outstanding, and a few of the names may well be familiar to devotees of the genre. The band is tight and sounds utterly professional, which by now is routine.

While Adolfo is more than adequate as a pianist, the entire vibe of the recording is just relaxed and musical. It may seem odd to pick on a tune named "Teletema" (TV Theme) as a favorite, but Jesse Sadoc's trumpet work really does mark him as a major player. The same with Rafael Rocha—his solo on "Minor Chord" is a fetching combination of tone and technique—on trombone, Danilo Sinna on alto sax and Marcelo Martins on tenor sax. Everyone is outstanding. The rhythm section simply seems to float on top of the time.

Even for those not inclined to dig Brazilian fare, this is a recording that will wear very, very well. It is an outstanding example of its genre, and of Antonio Adolfo's work in particular. He has been in the midst of it all since the late '60s. With any luck, he has a long way to go and much more to offer.