TEMA, by George Harris – jazzweekly.com

Pianist Antonio Adolfo delivers music that is classic and classy in the samba style on this album. He’s teamed with Marcelo Martins/fl-ss, Leo Amuedo/eg, Claudio Spiewak/ag, Jorge Helder/b, Rafael Barata/dr and Armando Marcal/perc through a collection of catchy originals. The music and groove is joyful and breezy as Martins’ flute floats over “Alegria For All” and the tropical percussion on “Sambojazz.” Some rich guitar solos veer in and out on the rumbling “Natureza” and the gentle “Trem da Serra,” while Helder’s bass is supple on “Phyrigia Brasileira.” As for the leader himself, he gets some nice spotlight on the gentle seascape of “Alem Mares” and his solo which closes out the disc on the tender “Variations on a Tema Triste.” Sublime joy.

What hasn’t been done with Brazilian music? Hey, how about mixing it with traditional Jewish music! Voclist Nicole uses her earthy Sephardic voice to team up with P ablo Aslan/b, Cyro Baptista/perc, Rob Curto/acc, Paul Meyeres/g and Brandon Sea brok/mand-eg to mix sambas with the Great Israeli Songbook. You get some lilting guitar and percussion on a slowly undulating “Com Saude (Abi Gezunt)” and a samba that sizzles with percussion and electric guitar on “No Escuro (In Der Fintster).” A lilting dance that has the accordion popping out chords on “Chuva” has Nicoe full bodied on the two stpping “Dois Musicos.” Reggae even gets into the act on a festive “Quem Que Sobra” while droplets of acoustic guitar trickle from the sky on the tender “Passarinho.” A kosher delight!