OCTET AND ORIGINALS, by Scott Yanow – L.A. Jazz Scene

Antonio Adolfo
Octet and Originals

Antonio Adolfo has been a major force in Brazilian jazz as a pianist, composer and bandleader since the 1960s. He was part of the bossa-nova scene (working with Elis Regina, Flora Purim and Milton Nascimento) and has since led over 25 albums. Some of his recent recordings are tributes to other songwriters (including Nascimento, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Wayne Shorter) but for this recent outing, he felt that it was long overdue that he record ten of his own originals.

While Adolfo's music on this CD utilizes understated Brazilian rhythms with a strong role for bassist Jorge Helder, the emphasis is on strong melodies, tight ensembles, and lively jazz solos. He enlisted a high-quality group that consists of trumpeter Jesse Sadoc, altoist Danilo Sinna, Marcelo Martins on tenor and flute, trombonist Rafael Rocha, guitarist Ricardo Silveira, bassist Helder, and drummer Rafael Barata. Adolfo's arrangements usually feature two or three soloists on each song. Trombonist Rocha is a consistent standout but every musician fares well.

The music is quite pleasing, whether it is the soothing "Heart Of Brazil," an energetic "Boogie Baiao" (which could serve as a theme song for a detective show), the lively "Cascavel," or the easy-listening (think prime Ramsey Lewis) of "Pretty World." Much of the music is mellow but a close listen reveals plenty of subtle creativity.

Antonio Adolfo can always be relied upon to make recordings that are both melodic and inventive. Octet and Originals (available from www.aammusic.com) is well worth picking up.

Scott Yanow