Rio, Choro, Jazz…, by Jack Goldstein – Blog Critics

The latest album from Brazilian composer/pianist Antonio Adolpho is a celebration of the music of his countryman, composer/pianist Ernesto Nazareth, focusing on his contributions to the choro, in many respects one of the signature Brazilian musical genres. The choro, as it developed towards the end of the 19th century, mixed a number of dance forms imported mainly from Portugal with popular Afro-Brazilian rhythms. Nazareth (1863–1934), as the liner notes indicate, was “the most prolific and popular choro composer, and his great choros and waltzes endured through the 20th century and are classics today.”

Adolpho’s arrangements, adding his own Brazilian jazz elements to the mix, will go a long way to insure that Nazareth’s music continues to get the recognition it deserves. Nine of pieces on the Rio, Choro, Jazz are by Nazareth. The title tune, which introduces the album, is an Adolpho original and serves as a kind of introduction to what follows.adolpho
And what follows is a dynamic exploration of the form in its lively varieties. There is a ragtime flavor aided by a couple of banjos in “Nao Caio Noutra (Better Next Time),” a tune that dates from 1881. “Feiteco (Enchantment)” begins with a Chopinesque waltz-like piano into before it takes off rhythmically, while “Coracao Que Sente (Sensitive Heart)” keeps its tender waltz rhythms throughout.

It is a set programmed to show off the possibilities of the choro, and it does so brilliantly. Flute and soprano sax player Marcelo Martins contributes some excellent solo work, as does guitarist Claudio Spiewak. Jorge Helder plays double bass, Rafael Barata, drums and percussion, and Marcos Suzano also works on percussion.