The wait is over, finally. When the Brazilian Trio released its debut Grammy-nominated album, Forests, I was very impressed by such an impassioned release. Knowing how busy each artist is — Helio Alves, Nilson Matta and Duduka da Fonseca all have very hectic schedules of their own — I couldn’t help but wonder when listeners would have the pleasure of a new Brazilian Trio album. I am so very glad Constelação is in stores.
Friends, composers and arrangers, these three artists apparently have one main goal in life: take the art of Brazilian jazz to all corners of the world, and that they do very well. Showcasing an original piece by each trio member along with other compositions by Tom Jobim, Dori Caymmi and others is an irrefutable formula for success. Helio’s “Bebe” is the first we hear. The track was written for Helio’s wife and was previously featured in Helio’s solo album, Trios. Listening to that version and this rendition, one can hear a more relaxed Brazilian approach to this fine composition. Nilson’s bass solo brings a playful way to the arrangement. As for Nilson’s own “LVM/Direto ao Assunto” medley, the inspiration was very direct. LVM are his wife’s and sons’ initials. The soft ballad is quietly beautiful and serves as an intro to the uptempo “Direto ao Assunto.” Duduka’s “Isabella” also goes back to family ties. This endearing waltz was written for his daughter.
The album title is inspired by the Southern Cross constellation, which is an integral part of Brazil, even having it included in the country’s flag. Just like the constellation is synonymous with Brazil, so is the music by Tom Jobim. Here he is featured with the lesser known and melodically complex “Quebra Pedra,” the gorgeous ballad “Luiza” and the fast “O Bôto.” Of the three, “Luiza” stands out with Helio’s piano solo solemnly. Another unforgettable moment is found in “O Cantador.” No stranger to world audiences, “O Cantador” (“Like a Lover” is the English version) is treated here to another refined arrangement. It is as if six hands are barely touching their instruments. Spine tingling from beginning to end!
With a well balanced repertoire and awe-inspiring arrangements and performances, it will be no surprise to see Constelação rise above the success Forests created. The stars in the Brazilian Trio are shining bright with this excellent album!
Here is the Brazilian Trio talking about and playing music from Constelação.
Motéma Music MTM-93 (2012)
- Constelação (Alfredo Cardim – Dee Dee McNeil)
- Bebe (Helio Alves)
- Embalo (Tenório Jr.)
- O Cantador (Dori Caymmi – Nelson Motta)
- Quebra Pedra (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
- LVM/Direto ao Assunto (Nilson Matta)
- Luiza (Antonio Carlos Jobim)
- O Bôto (Antonio Carlos Jobim – Jararaca)
- Isabella (Duduka da Fonseca)
- Bolivia (Cedar Walton)