Antonio Adolfo: Finas Misturas (2013)
Pianist/Composer Antonio Adolfo is a bit of a musical mixologist. Throughout his four-plus decades in the music world, he's often found his way and made his mark by merging jazz language with the sonic sensibilities of his native Brazil; now, this very idea serves as a thematic umbrella that hangs over Finas Misturas.
Adolfo takes a crop of classics and serves them up with Brazilian seasoning, adding new flavors without altering the base taste of each number. Some of these songs seem like a natural fit on paper ("Con Alma") while others read like odd choices ("Giant Steps"), but they all manage to accept their respective graft(s) and thrive in their new skin. Adolfo adds a hint of samba to pianist Bill Evans' "Time Remembered," brings the sounds of bossa nova to the surface on Dizzy Gillespie's "Con Alma," and captures the Brazilian Toada temperament during a piano-guitar duo take on Keith Jarrett's "Memories Of Tomorrow." Adolfo proves to be a clever and sensitive arranger when working with jazz standards, but he also takes the same care in dealing with his own music. His gentle qualities come to the fore on the soothing "Balada" and his enthusiasm is never in doubt during the peppy-but-controlled "Tres Meninos."
The band on hand mirrors Adolfo's feelings and amplifies the emotional suggestions already present within these songs. Marcelo Martins' flute work is pure beauty and the rhythm team of bassist Jorge Helder and drummer Rafael Barata keep things afloat without ever being forceful. Adolfo seems relaxed and at ease with all of these musicians, but it's the guitarists that appear to be his closest musical friends and confidants. Adolfo's piano shares many a rhythmic whisper and close encounter with Leo Amuedo's electric guitar and Claudio Spiewak's acoustic guitar, furthering the very notion of fine mixtures that defines this album.
Track Listing: Floresta Azul; Balada; Giant Steps; Con Alma; Misturando; Memories Of Tomorrow; Naima; Tres Meninos; Crystal Silence; Time Remembered.
Personnel: Antonio Adolfo: piano; Jorge Helder: bass; Rafael Barata: drums, percussion; Leo Amuedo: electric guitar (1, 4-8); Claudio Spiewak: acoustic guitar (2-5, 9); Marcelo Martins: tenor saxophone, flute (1, 3-5, 7, 9, 10).