Antonio Adolfo: Bossa 65

Brazilian pianist Adolfo and friends pay jazz tribute to Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal, two key but less often cited bossa nova pioneers

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During the past half-century, Antonio Adolfo has made a considerable contribution to the popular music of Brazil and in that time, thanks to many albums, his special skills have become known around the world. This release is a fine example of piano playing by a superb and highly respected musician who broke into the music business in 1963 when, still a teenager, he worked on Pobre Menina Rica (Poor Little Rich Girl), a musical show written by Carlos Lyra and Vinicius de Moraes.

It was around that same time, the mid-1960s, that bossa nova and jazz were joined in a happy union reflected in the title of this album, the subtitle of which is “Celebrating Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal”. This acknowledges two of the leading composers of that era with five songs each, all but one of which were originally published with lyrics by either de Moraes or Ronaldo Boscoli; the exception, O Barquino, has a lyric by Chico Buarque.

Throughout Bossa 65, Adolfo is the principal soloist, his playing melodically elegant and rhythmically charged. Although all the songs have often meaningful lyrics, they are unheard here, and it is to the credit of these instrumentalists that their playing makes clear their awareness of the unsung words. Guitarist Lula Galvao has a well-taken solo opportunity on the opener, as does trombonist Rafael Rocha, who also solos on Tete and Samba Do Carioca, and on that last-named title there is a solo by alto saxophonist Danilo Sinna who is especially effective on Tete. There are also solos by trumpet and flugelhorn player Jesse Sadoc, on Rio and Nos E O Mar, and tenor saxophonist and alto flautist Marcelo Martins on Marcha Da Quarta-Feira De Cinzas.

The pulse of all the music heard here is energising, as befits a style linked inextricably to dance, and the playing of Adolfo, Galvao, bassist Jorge Helder and percussionists Dada Costa and Rafael Bata fulfils all expectations of that underlying rhythmically intensity. Very warmly recommended.

Discography
Coisa Mais Linda (Most Beautiful Thing); Samba Do Carioca (Carioca’s Samba); Bye Bye Brasil; O Barquino (Little Boat); Maria Moita (Maria Shut-Mouth);Tete; Marcha Da Quarta-Feira De Cinzas (Ash Wednesday March); Rio; Nos E O Mar; (We And The Sea); Sabe Voce (Do You Know) (49.42)
Antonio Adolfo (p, arr); Jesse Sadoc (t, flh); Rafael Rocha (tb); Danilo Sinna (as); Marcelo Martins (ts, af); Lula Galvao (g); Jorge Helder (b); Dada Costa (d, pc); Rafael Bata (pc). Brazil, 2022-23.
AAM Music AAM 0717