More Than Perfect Bossa
The delicate bass introduction in “Tom Mais Que Perfeito” sets the tone for Todo Bossa, a gorgeous bossa album by bassist and composer Max Robert. Bass is followed by Keco Brandão’s gentle piano accompaniment in his own refined arrangement. It is like raindrops softly falling in a foggy evening. Tatiana Parra’s breathy voice draws you closer in this beautiful opener.The lyrics make reference here and there with apparent lost words — tom, águas, março, brasileiro — punctuated with subtle notes that take you back to Tom Jobim’s vast repertoire. He is the more than perfect “tom” in the song title. When Danilo Caymmi enters in the second verse, you have already surrendered to the beauty of Todo Bossa. Bossa Nova is alive. The duo Tatiana Parra and Danilo Caymmi exudes sensuality in a smoothly charged arrangement. The mood does not change drastically and is in fact enhanced with “Do Guinga para Bossa,” featuring Guinga himself on vocals and acoustic guitar along with Daniel D’Alcântara’s impassioned trumpet solo.
How come we have not heard much about Max Robert until now? He started taking piano lessons at age 4, and already at age 12 he was performing professionally. He then studied bass in the Tatuí Conservatory in the state of São Paulo. His musician record has been associated with Fat Family, Luciana Mello, Djavan’s daughter Flávia Virgínia and the group O Terço. After his debut album in 2001, Max Groove, an album mostly with jazz and funk tunes, Max Robert also focused on bass instruction. Then in 2005, with some music he had written, he produced Todo Bossa. Because it is an independent release — as is the case of some of the best albums coming out of Brazil these days — Todo Bossa has remained somewhat hidden from its well deserving limelight. The album excels with its sophisticated arrangements and excellent musicians.
For “Chega de Saudade,” Taryn Zspilman lends her voice in a very jazzy and contemporary arrangement conceived by Max. One thing the listener notices in these arrangements in the album is that there is a predominance of one particular instrument over the others. In this track, for example, though Max’s bass presence cannot be missed, the major solos here fall in the hands of Paulinho Trompete (trumpet) and Fábio Torres (piano). Another example is in “Gafieira,” with Vitor Alcântara’s lively flute presence. This track, by the way, has an effusive brass arrangement written by Zé Lourenço.
Another classy guest appearance is featured in “Tell Me a Bed Time Story.” Jane Duboc is one of those mesmerizing Brazilian female voices that can transform any song into a wonderful gem. Her vocalize in this Herbie Hancock tune is a fine addition that complements Fábio Torres’ suave piano solo. The tight arrangement is one of the finest moments in Todo Bossa.
Recreating the elegance and sophistication of the first track, Max Robert pulls all the stops in “Você Sorriu,” featuring Marcelina Andrade’s delightful vocal solo. The rich bass accompaniment provides a beautiful contrast with her soft voice.
This constant and precise change from bouncy jazz to rich bossa arrangements is one of the best features of the album. And when those two worlds come together, as in “Gabriela,” featuring Daniela Spielmann’s beautiful soprano sax solo, it is pure rapture. In yet another fine moment of great musicianship, Armando Marçal’s lively percussion in “Baiãozim Calungo” shares the spotlight with Vitor Alcântara’s flute solo. The album closes with a short drum-n-bass remix of “Tacanho.” The pure funk essence that this arrangement brings is explosive.
Todo Bossa stays close to its roots with very elegant and tasteful arrangements. At the same time, Max Robert does not shy away from exploring new avenues to engage listeners and keep them interested in his highly pleasurable musicianship.
You can visit Max Robert to learn more about the artist, this album and hear song samples.
- Tom Mais Que Perfeito (Max Robert – Conrado Goys – Keco Brandão) w/ Danilo Caymmi
- Do Guinga para Bossa (Max Robert) w/ Guinga
- Chega de Saudade (Antonio Carlos Jobim – Vinícius de Moraes)
- Gafieira (Conrado Goys)
- Tacanho (Valdir Azevedo)
- Tell Me a Bed Time Story (Herbie Hancock) w/ Jane Duboc
- Você Sorriu (Rogério Teixeira)
- Gabriela (Max Robert – Conrado Goys)
- Baiãozim Calungo (Ivan Vilela)
- Samba Novo (Max Robert – Cláudio Machado)
- Bonus Track: Tacanho Remix (Valdir Azevedo)