With this album the Sambajazz Trio pays tribute to the good old piano-bass-drums tradition that used to be present in Brazil’s major cities. As a contradiction, the success of those trios was the beginning of the end. After a certain moment it seemed all bars had their own piano trio, which resulted in a lack of interest by the overfed audience. Some of the best performers decided to continue their career outside Brazil (like João Donato). Jazz-rock and larger ensembles took over. The Sambajazz Trio falls back on the tradition.
The pianist of the trio, Lincoln “Kiko” Continentino (Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais; 1969) comes from a musical family. His brothers (bassist Alberto and saxophonist Jorge) gained fame too, while father Mauro was pianist himself and owner of a jazz club in Belo Horizonte (Pianíssimo). It was also in that bar that the Continentino brothers started to perform and gain experience. Kiko, who moved to Niterói (Rio de Janeiro) in 1987, is maybe most famous by his participation on a few albums by Milton Nascimento. He also accompanied singers like Emílio Santiago, Djavan, Moska, Edu Lobo, Chico Buarque and many others.
Bassist Luiz Alves is a settled name in Brazilian jazz and music in general. He has quite an impressive history in piano trios. At age 15, he set up the Trio Guanabara; later he performed in various other trio settings: João Donato, Luiz Eça (Trio Triângulo), Wagner Tiso, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and while in the USA he performed with George Duke. These credits are among numerous other accomplishments in Brazilian music.
Drummer of the trio is Clauton Sales, better known as Neguinho. He’s also a talented trumpet player. He even manages to play both instruments at the same time… Born in Recife, Pernambuco, he performed with Geraldo Azevedo and Gonzaguinha. He was also a solid member of the band of Luiz Melodia.
The music on this album represents the tradition of the piano trio in its best way. The repertoire covers some standards and a few original compositions. The opening medley (“Maracangalha/ Maracalaxo”) immediately shows the talent of the three musicians. We hear masterful samba drumming, playful piano and solid bass (including a nice bass solo with the bow). “Agora Sim!,” the cd’s title track, is a Luiz Alves/Luizão Paiva composition and features Neguinho on the trumpet. One of the most famous jazz standards “Sweet Georgia Brown” (composed in 1925!) is introduced by Luiz Alves again using his bow. The song is transformed into a samba in a funny way. The opening of “Canção do Sal,” a Milton Nascimento composition, has many colours. After a hesitative piano solo opening, the song seems to flow over into a ballad, but the driving drums lead to the actual theme of this familiar composition. “Dolphin” is composed by the late Luiz Eça, dedicated to the great pianist Bill Evans. In his playing, Kiko Continentino refers in a beautiful way to the talent of Luiz Eça. “O Trenzinho do Caipira” seems to get bogged down in an endless bowed bass rendition of the melody line. But right on time the Villa Lobos composition proves its timelessness, when the piano continues in a free way on the melody. Next, like by the turn of a switch, we’re back in a samba swing with beautiful soloing. Too bad the song ends with a fade away. “O Morro Não Tem Vez” is a dedication to Tom Jobim and Vinícius de Moraes, the composers of the song. The trio plays the song with majestic modesty. The own compositions by Kiko Continentino show a more contemporary theme, but fit perfectly between the classics, which is not only a compliment to the composer, but also for the trio. They understand the tradition and perform in the best possible way. Is this a sign of the revival of the piano-bass-drums trios in Brazil? This album sure deserves a warm place in that division.
Guanabara Tratore GRCD 002 (2005)
- Medley: Maracangalha (Dorival Caymmi) / Maracalaxo (Kiko Continentino)
- Agora Sim! (Luiz Alves – Luizão Paiva)
- Sweet Georgia Brown (Ben Bernie – Ken Casey – Maceo Pinkard)
- Sabor Antigo (Kiko Continentino)
- Quero-Quero (Luiz Alves)
- Noturno (Kiko Continentino)
- O Trenzinho do Caipira (Heitor Villa-Lobos)
- Deus Brasileiro (Marcos Valle – Paulo Sergio Valle)
- Praça Pio XI (Luiz Alves – Luizão Paiva)
- Canção do Sal (Milton Nascimento)
- Dolphin (Luiz Eça)
- O Morro Não Tem Vez (Antonio Carlos Jobim – Vinícius de Moraes)
- Cem Anos Para Amar (Kiko Continentino)