TEMA , by Jack Goodstein – BC (Blog Critics)

Antonio Adolfo – Tema

Composer/pianist Antonio Adolfo takes a somewhat more personal and almost laid-back approach to the Brazilian tradition in his June release, Tema, given the energy inherent to the music. Uninterested in refurbishing the classic material this time out, his set of original pieces is a more subjective reflection on the music as it has impacted him over the course of his career. “These,” he says, “are temas (themes) from different moments of my life.” With the benefit of experience, he takes a mature look back on earlier work and sees where he can take it.

Each of the album’s tracks offer a unique musical vision. “Phrygia Brasileira” is structured on the Phrygian mode, reflecting the Moorish influence on Brazil by way of the Portuguese colonists. “Alem Mares” (Beyond Seas), originally written to celebrate the success of space exploration, now channels an oceanic vibe. Again, while most of the album is calm and reflective, there is still the energetic “Sambo Jazz,” a collaboration with guitarist Claudio Spiewak, to get the juices flowing.

Tema is the veteran Adolfo at the height of his powers.