Just Like Fine Wine
Antonio Adolfo never seems to stop. He has been an iconic Brazilian musician, composer, arranger and producer since the late 1960s. His numerous awards continue to be collected as if he were a perpetual motion machine. The most recent recognition came from the XVI Annual Brazilian International Press Awards 2013 this past March, when it was announced that his show with daughter Carol Saboya had won for best Brazilian show. Now he has just released an instrumental jazz album entitled Finas Mistura (Fine Mixtures). Just like fine wine, you will definitely savor this musical gift in those special moments you enjoy. Some of the best jazz masters are represented, including John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea and Bill Evans. Together they are packaged in this finely produced and arranged collection. Antonio’s fine hands also add to the excitement with four original pieces.
Finas Misturas has all the required presences we have learned to expect in Antonio’s projects. He is on piano and is accompanied by Leo Amuedo (electric guitar), Claudio Spiewak (acoustic guitar), Marcelo Martins (tenor sax and flute), Jorge Helder (double bass) and Rafael Barata (drums and percussion). These super talented musicians create an unforgettable musical whirlwind. As Antonio explains — and to my amazement! — the “recording took place in one week” in the Brazilian summer of 2012. Way more than simply playing the masters, Antonio adds twists to nearly every piece you will hear in the album. For example, from pianist Keith Jarrett, “Memories of Tomorrow” will sound like an authentic Brazilian Toada (a close musical cousin of Baião). The softness performed in this number is endearing. Leo Amuedo’s electric guitar solo is nothing short than spectacular! Dizzy Gillespie’s “Con Alma” is another special treat. Antonio says that this classic standard “has enchanted my soul since the very first time I listened to it.” He finally decided it was time to include it in this release and added his “personal touch of Brazilian Bossa.” Marcelo Martin’s featured tenor sax solo is also captivating. I must also point out the C flute solos we are presented in “Naima” and “Crystal Silence,” two great moments in Finas Misturas. One of Antonio’s major influences, Bill Evans, is represented in the closing number of the album with “Time Remembered.” The quietness of this tune is highlighted by the peaceful piano and flute solos. Sublime is the word that best describes it!
Antonio’s own compositions provide a magnificent connection among all music performed in the album. “Balada,” for example will stay with you long after you’ve listened to it. Composed in the mid-1970s, “Balada” transcends time and can stand side by side with Evans’ “Time Remembered. Clearly exemplifying the album title, Antonio’s “Três Meninos” excites with the mixture of Baião, Samba and Calango (a Brazilian dance from the Southeast).
Finas Misturas proves again and again how closely related and interconnected the worlds of Brazilian music and jazz are. If you have any doubts, all it takes is for you to listen to and be entranced by Antonio’s arrangement of John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps.” I was in awe with what Antonio accomplished here. What you will hear is very close to Northeastern Brazilian Baião. As Antonio himself wrote me, he was “forrozeando no jazz” (playing Forró on Jazz). The result is truly splendid!
Finas Misturas (Fine Mixtures)
AAM Music AAM 0705 (2013)
- Floresta Azul (Blue Forest) (Antonio Adolfo)
- Balada (Ballad) (Antonio Adolfo)
- Giant Steps (John Coltrane)
- Con Alma (Dizzy Gillespie)
- Misturando (Mixing) (Antonio Adolfo)
- Memories of Tomorrow (Keith Jarrett)
- Naima (John Coltrane)
- Três Meninos (Three Little Boys) (Antonio Adolfo)
- Crystal Silence (Chick Corea – Neville Potter)
- Time Remembered (Bill Evans)