One of the many delights of writing for All About Jazz is stumbling upon a great CD from the past, and being able to bring it to an audience that might have missed its debut. It's clear that Songs from the Last Century is one of these rare gems--even before a single note is heard, the list of players and songs suggests that something very special is going on.For one thing, the leaders are the superb pianist Helio Alves and drummer Duduka Da Fonseca (hence HD2), who are known as two of the greatest emissaries of Brazilian music ...read more
Many people think Maucha Adnet is the most soulful Brazilian vocalist performing today; certainly her voice is warm, textured, and sexy, and her delivery is passionate, classy, and informed by a keen musical intelligence. (Fellow singers will also appreciate her great diction and pitch, awesome breath control, and masterful way with a triangle). The great Antonio Carlos Jobim knew all this, choosing to perform and record with Adnet for the last decade of his life.Adnet and the fine pianist Helio Alves first worked together in 1993, and his elegant, responsive playing is her perfect complement. In fact, part ...read more
Vocalist Maucha Adnet and pianist Helio Alves have been collaborating in various settings for two decades, but Milagre marks their first full-length recording as a twosome. Adnet, who's best known for her decade-long tenure with the great Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Alves, a first call pianist who's worked with everyone from saxophonist Joe Henderson to cellist Yo-Yo Ma, are both part of a group of close-knit veterans that breath Brazilian air into the jazz atmosphere of Manhattan. This Brazilian jazz mafia, which also includes guitarist Romero Lubambo, bassist Nilson Matta and drummer Duduka Da Fonseca, has served as a binding ...read more
Helio Alves is one of the most sought-after pianists around with a solid technical foundation (starting his classical training at an early age) and a highly developed respect for his fellow musicians. He knows how to listen, how much and when to play and how to build his solos with imagination and interest. Joined by fellow Brazilian Romero Lubambo on guitar, Scott Colley on bass and Ernesto Simpson on drums, Alves features an eclectic mixture of material--originals by himself and one by Lubambo, as well as known pieces by Brazilian composers including Jobim--and seems to accomplish two ...read more
Brazilian pianist Helio Alves has put together Portrait in Black and White , a wonderful trio collaboration with bassist Santi Debriano and drummer Matt Wilson, who appeared recently at the MontrĂ©al Jazz Festival as part of the Charlie Haden Trio. The opener, Frenzy," an Alves original, develops slowly within its circular theme, then accelerates quickly into a first-class burner, with Alves whipping off a dazzling and complex solo, the ideas flowing effortlessly from his fingers as Wilson and Debriano scamper alongside him. Sambetinho," another Alves original, is a breezy hybrid of samba and straight ahead jazz with more ...read more
Pianist Helio Alves has a light touch, dazzlingly fleet fingers and a knack for drawing listeners into a piece. All those gifts are display on his new album, Portrait in Black and White. Ably supported by bassist Santi Debriano and drummer Matt Wilson, Alves presents a collection highlighted by his originals and lightly spiced with Brazilian flavors.
Despite Alves' capacity for blinding speed, his dashes over the keyboard are never solely showy. Instead, his technical prowess is consistently used to drive or embellish the melody or to add meaningful texture and depth to an improvisation. That control and care allows ...read more