Almanaque have been together for eight years now, presenting as ever a fine blend of Brazilian rhythms and African influences. Their new album’s title says it all, for “nada para o carnaval” – nothing stops the carnival – but this set is more than just an exuberant, colourful explosion of carnival on a CD.
The compositions are all theirs, except for a perfect recreation of Milton Nascimento’s lilting Lilia with light, airy vocals from Camille Bertault, and what stands out is their variety. The uplifting carnival rhythms and driving percussion of the title track open the set and make another appearance in Dupla Personalidade, Quentin Collins’s light-voiced trumpet floating over the top before the second personality of the song appears midway through in more thoughtful vein. Milagreiro is an enchanting, guitar- and bass-led slow lilt of a song, Papageno’s Shuffle self-explanatory in its intoxicating percussion, while Dance Of The What If is suitably ambiguous in its changing shapes.
Notable throughout is the consistently high quality of the musicianship, in particular Luca Boscagin’s subtle solo on Botafogo, Collins’s warm-voiced trumpet flurries, and the drums and percussion duo who provide an eloquent running commentary.
Vocalist Camille Bertault delivers some fine jazz singing on the two chorinhos, but this is a collective band happy in its skin and well immersed in the music they play. Personally, I would have liked more songs by Milton Nascimento, an artist who has greatly influenced the band and whose songs they perform so sensitively, but this set stands well just as it is.
Nada Para O Carnaval Intro; Lilia; Nada Para O Carnaval; Botafogo; Dance Of The What If; Amuleto; Dupla Personalidade; Rush Hour Chorinho; Milagreiro; Papageno’s Shuffle; Chorinho Pra Mim (53.53)
Quentin Collins (t); Luca Boscagin (elg); Matheus Nova (elb); Raphael Delfino (d); Jansen Santana (pc); Camille Bertault (v). Europe, c. 2022.