What a Debut!
The instrumental group Marimbanda is as unique as its name. Formed in1999 in Fortaleza, Ceará (northeast Brazil), Marimbanda got its name from a song written by bassist Adriano Giffoni. With a good dose of improvisation added to Brazilian rhythms — samba, baião, frevo, etc. — Marimbanda scores high marks in its self-titled debut album.
Marimbanda’s formation in this album is Luizinho Duarte (drums and percussion), Heriberto Porto (flutes), Ítalo Almeida (keyboards) and Júnior Primata (bass). The band draws the material for this release from original compositions with the exception of the classic “Pisa na Fulô,” which here receives a more contemporary, smooth arrangement highlighting the band’s innovative approach to Brazilian instrumental music. Of course Giffoni’s “Marimbanda” is present, too. This magical combination of talented musicians creates the hybrid sound you find in Marimbanda. For example, Primata adds to the group his previous experience with musicians such as Manassés and Renato Borghetti. Duarte, who is also an excellent guitar player and composer, clearly shows influences from Zimbo Trio as well as from samba and choro traditions. Almeida’s piano solos and compositions mix Bill Evans and Chick Corea along with frevos and sambas. As for Porto, he got his master’s degree in flute in Brussels, Belgium, where he lived for 12 years besides performing and recording two albums there. In addition to Marimbanda, he also performs with Syntagma, a group blending Baroque with Brazilian northeastern music, and the woodwind quintet Alberto Nepomuceno.
Giffoni’s opener, “Marimbanda,” starts off with Duarte’s dynamic drumming extravaganza. The group is full of energy and exchanges quick solos feeding from one another’s lines. Almeida’s fingers glide beautifully on the ivory while Porto’s flute leaves you breathless. All of that is enhanced when Primata’s bass solo takes center stage. This musical exchange lasts over 4 minutes with fast and slow tempo alternating back and forth. With Primata’s “Destino,” Marimbanda slows down a bit. This beautiful bossa nova is the vehicle for Primata’s own solo carrying the melody line at first. Duarte is more subdued now and accompanies Almeida’s touching piano and Porto’s sweet flute. The nice contrasts between ballads and funkier tunes are a big plus in this album. After “Destino,” for example, “Feito Assim” picks up speed with its groovy and jazzy tempo. The same is true about “À Procura do Conde,” which follows the mellow “Luiz da Arte” with its soft baião tempo. Incidentally, the word play between “Luiz da Arte” and Luiz Duarte is very clever. The classic “Pisa na Fulô” receives a new arrangement complete with a dazzling improvisational bridge with Almeida’s fast piano solo. We then have accordionist Adelson Viana featured as a guest in the tango-influenced “Morangotango.” Argentina meets Brazil, and the combination is beautifully fiery. The romantic waltz “Num Domingo de Valsa” takes you strolling with images of flowers blooming as Porto’s luscious flute paints this soothing landscape. Once again, the band electrifies your listening pleasure with “Depois a Gente Vê” right before saying goodbye with “Samba Nº 1.”
Marimbanda has just released its second album,Tente Descobrir. The band’s collective work here is destined for a promising future. Marimbanda is a much needed festive celebration of Brazilian instrumental music. The band’s sound is vibrant and serene, electrifying and soothing, and it is all done with superb musicianship and incomparable style.
Perfil Musical 75026 (2001)
- Marimbanda (Adriano Giffoni)
- Destino (Jr. Primata)
- Feito Assim (Luizinho Duarte)
- Pisa na Fulô (João do Vale – Ernesto Pires – Silvério Júnior)
- Morangotango (Luizinho Duarte)
- Luiz da Arte (Jr. Primata)
- À Procura do Conde (Luizinho Duarte)
- Intuição (Luizinho Duarte)
- Num Domingo de Valsa (Luizinho Duarte)
- Depois a Gente Vê (Luizinho Duarte)
- Samba Nº 1 (Ítalo Almeida)