On a Solid Road
With four beautiful and well received solo albums on his credit, one can be quite confident about the quality of a next release from guitarist Marcos Amorim (Rio de Janeiro, 1964). And here it is: Portraits. On this tasteful recording date, Marcos returns with the trio that accompanied him on the album Revolving Landscapes (2007). That means Jorge Albuquerque on bass and Rafael Barata on drums.
Bassist Jorge Albuquerque is a real globetrotter. Born in Rio de Janeiro, he studied music with (bassist) Adriano Giffoni and performed in several of the city’s jazz orchestras. In the early 1990’s Jorge had a job teaching bass at Rio’s Centro Musical, while he also performed in the Antonio Adolfo Trio (which, by the way, was completed by Pascoal Meirelles on drums). He then moved to Miami and perfected his bass skills at the Florida International University. From there on he worked in hotels and on cruise ships, travelling around the world. Melbourne, Australia, was his next stop. There he had his own band and also performed in local bands like Bossa Negra.
Rafael Mendes Barata (drums and percussion) is also from Rio de Janeiro. He developed an interest in the drum kit since age 5 and grew up listening to MPB and Bossa Nova. Rafael won his first prize at the International Brazilian Drums Festival when he was no more than 15 years old (1st Batuka) and five years later he won the Batuka Masters 2000. He recorded and performed with many of Brazil’s greatest soloists and he had a steady job in the trio of pianist Osmar Milito at Mistura Fina, once one of Rio’s most legendary jazz clubs. There he also had the chance to accompany visiting foreign stars.
With musicians like these little can go wrong. And indeed, the music on Portraits is again of a flawless beauty. As on his previous albums, Marcos Amorim treats us with a the repertoire that has a nice variety ranging from smooth jazz compositions to more straight-ahead jazz, always flavoured with Brazilian tradition.
The album’s opener “Ribeirinha” has a friendly theme that paints an image of life along sunny riversides in of Brazil. The electric guitar is accompanied by acoustic guitar chords, an approach that is very common on this album. Jorge Albuquerque supports with bass lines that are as graceful as they are virtuoso while the drums plays with the rhythm in a gentle but inventive way. Drummer Rafael Barata is featured on the most remarkable composition “Amarak.” The fretless bass of its composer creates a rather woolly sentiment until Rafael Barata quietly takes over for a percussive drum solo that easily occupies two third of the track and surely will take your breath away. The sound is beautiful recorded. The last phase of the solo flows over in “Maracatu,” on which Rafael Barata is featured again with a more explosive solo this time. Marcos Amorim leads the trio in a very generous way. His work throughout the album is of course nothing short of spotless. The use of various guitars gives each song a different stroke. His sound is gentle and soft for the ears. The accompanying duo successfully tickles the serenity in Marcos Amorim’s music. It makes you want to play the CD again once it’s finished. On “Prece“ we hear guest Sérgio Nunes on cello who helps to underline the traditional and devotional sentiment of the composition.
Once again, Marcos Amorim pleases his audience with an album full of entertaining beauty. He seems like one of those musicians who just never disappoint their followers.
Marcos Amorim Trio
Adventure Music AM1052 2 (2010)
Total Time: 48’35”
All compositions by Marcos Amorim, except where noted.
- Morning (Jorge Albuquerque)
- Amarak (Jorge Albuquerque)
- Prece (featuring Sergio Nunes)
- Music Box (Jorge Albuquerque)