Brazilian drummer and percussionist Duduka Da Fonseca recorded this album for Zoho as a followup to his debut album, Samba Jazz Fantasia (Malandro, 2002). Da Fonseca was born in 1951 and gained years of experience on the streets of Brazil with musicians like Raul de Souza, Edison Machado and Dom Um Romao. He relocated to New York in 1976 and has appeared on more than two hundred recording sessions. In addition to this working group, Da Fonseca also accounts for one third of Trio da Paz (along with guitarist Romero Lubambo and bassist Nilson Matta).
In addition to Da Fonseca on drums and percussion, the recording features Helio Alves, Leonardo Cioglia, Anat Cohen and Guilherme Monteiro, as well as noteworthy guests Claudio Roditi, Paulo Levi and Vic Juris. Maucha Adnet and Alana Da Fonseca (Fonseca's wife and daughter, respectively) provide vocals and vocalese. With the exception of an original from pianist Alves, all twelve tunes are all from the pens of respected Brazilian tunesmiths like Jobim, Gismonti, de Moraes, Horta, Pascoal, Eca, Menescal/Buarque and Silva.
Although the material includes ballads and street samba, all of the music falls under the musical umbrella of bossa nova. Da Fonseca explains the meaning of the album's title by saying that the music is "simple and truthful," adding that "Samba Jazz is a blend of black African origins influenced by white European classical and popular music."
The disc opens with Luiz Eca's torrid "Mestre Bimba," featuring affirmative solo statements from Monteiro on guitar and Cohen on soprano sax, but the pace soon grows romantic with the Menescal/Buarque piece "Bye Bye Brazil," which features Roditi's muted trumpet. On Pascoal's "Chorinho Pra Ele," Anat Cohen's lovely clarinet work is a highlight. Likewise, on the familiar Jobim piece "O Grande Amor," Cohen's tenor sax is clearly influenced by Stan Getz's work during his bossa nova years. Paulo Levi contributes his own tenor sax playing on DeMoraes' "Medo De Amar," along with guitarist Vic Juris. On the concluding "Dry Land," the leader gets a little extra time on the pots and pans.
Personnel: Duduka Da Fonseca: drums, percussion; Helio Alves: piano; Leonardo Cioglia: acoustic bass;
Anat Cohen: soprano and tenor saxophone, bass clarinet; Guilherme Monteiro: electric and
acoustic guitars. Special Guests: Maucha Adnet: Alana Da Fonseca: vocals; Vic Juris: guitar;
Paulo Levi: tenor saxophone; Claudio Roditi: trumpet