Jazz Pop Brazilian
Grupo Comboio was created in 1998 in São Paulo at the Universidade de Campinas. What the original seven students started as a way to practice improvisation and arranging evolved into something much bigger both in number and, especially, musically. Already in 2002, the group released its first album, Sarado, while maintaining a balance between classes and performances in the state of São Paulo.
Think of Grupo Comboio as an original Brazilian ensemble that explores similarities and affinities while also experimenting with Brazil’s rich musical history. Grupo Comboio defines itself as a “gathering of musicians interested in making quality instrumental music” with strong roots in researching new ways of “incorporating some jazz, Brazilian popular music and formal experimentation.” This amalgamation of ideas coupled with the musical expertise of twelve top-notch musicians creates the wonderful music you hear in the group’s second album, Comboio. Today, Grupo Comboio is comprised of twelve instrumentalists: Jair Teixeira (alto/soprano saxes, flutes), Cacá Malaquias (alto/tenor saxes, fife), Marcelo Toledo (tenor sax, flute), Beto Sporleder (soprano/baritone saxes, flute), Gê Ribeiro (trumpet, flugelhorn), Rubinho Antunes (trumpet, flugelhorn), Dico las Casas (trombone), Adriano Contó (piano), Fernando Baeta (guitar), Guilherme Marques (drums), Rui Barossi (acoustic/electric basses) and Vinícius Barros (percussion). Yes, it is almost a Big Band formation, and by the vigorous sound you hear and the passionate music Grupo Comboio plays, you can certainly experience some of the magic from Big Band music at times. The group is directly involved in the musical production of the album, but the arrangements featured in Comboio were written by Rubinho Antunes, Rui Barossi and Adriano Contó.
The repertoire in the album is mostly original numbers penned by group members — 5 songs — as well as two other tracks written by Chico Buarque and the classic Nelson Cavaquinho, Guilherme de Brito and Alcides Caminha “A Flor e o Espinho.” Whereas the original pieces allow the group to throw in a little experimentation with Brazilian genres, such as in the infectious frevo “A Baixa e o Baixo,” the inclusion of those non-original pieces is very much in line with the group’s proposition to explore the rich Brazilian music songbook. The two Chico Buarque songs, “O Futebol” and “As Vitrines,” are presented in lavish arrangements. “O Futebol” is pure, unadulterated samba, and as for “As Vitrines,” Antunes’s flugelhorn solo turns the song into a mostly sensual, sultry number. It is exquisitely beautiful. “A Flor e o Espinho” gets special treatment with an arrangement that most definitely will take you back in time to old Rio de Janeiro dance parlors. An amazing feat the group attains is the magical blending of their original songs with those three classics. Other pieces also deserve careful listening. In “O Maestro Fugiu,” for example, you will hear echoes of Tom Jobim (“Boto”). On the other side of the spectrum, we hear more jazz influences in “Suíte Teatral” and the sublime “Sónietchka,” with the group’s more experimentational side being showcased. The frevo “A Baixa e o Baixo” and “Para Lá” can be viewed as the bridge between foreign and Brazilian, samba and jazz. Grupo Comboio is capable of maintaining what is mostly Brazilian in those two pieces while at the same time adding some musical spice all their own. This rare achievement sets this group clearly on the horizon for more quality work to come. At least as listeners, that is what we can only hope for based on this excellent release.
For more information about the artist and album, including free download of additional tracks not included in this album, please visit Grupo Comboio online.
À Deriva Discos ADVA0001 (2005)
- O Futebol (Chico Buarque)
- O Maestro Fugiu (Rubinho Antunes)
- Suíte Teatral (Boneca/Não Distância 3) (Rui Barossi
- A Flor e o Espinho (Nelson Cavaquinho – Guilherme de Brito – Alcides Caminha)
- Para Lá (Adriano Contó)
- A Baixa e o Baixo (Rui Barossi)
- As Vitrines (Chico Buarque)
- Sónietchka (Rui Barossi)