Blame it on the Bossa Nova: Brazil's Other Musics

Elliott Simon By

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Jovino Santos Neto & Weber Iago

Live at Caramoor

Adventure Music


Felipe Salles


Curare Records


Yamandu Costa


Acoustic Music


One unfortunate outcome of Brazilian bossa nova's overpowering early love affair with jazz is that the 'other musics' from Brazil have not received their due. These three releases challenge that and indicate that Brazilian music remains a significant creative partner in current modern jazz circles.

Jovino Santos Neto and Weber Iago are two pianists who have a profound presence and Live at Caramoor has them sharing the same stage. Neto uses a wonderful meld of Northeastern Brazilian music as his wellspring to create colorful modern jazz while Iago merges a classicist's precision with Brazilian folk styles for an evocative jazz landscape; his "Navegante" and reworking of the standard "Alone Together" are touchingly emotive in style and grace. Neto is here the more overtly Brazilian and "Bailaio," written by his mentor Hermeto Pascoal, and "Lamentos," by the great choro composer Pixinguinha, are exquisite Brazilian-tinged jazz. Three originals feature superb camaraderie before Neto switches to melodica for an intriguing "Desafinado" duet. Joe Lovano then joins the duo on soprano sax for a wonderfully free version of Jobim's "Wave".

Saxophonist Felipe Salles utilizes Brazilian styles such as choro, frevo and baião to inspire his extended compositions and advanced arrangements on Timeline. His quintet has a double saxophone attack as Salles and altoist Jacam Manricks expertly play complex lines in tandem or trade off in a hard bop manner. There is also a sense of freedom running through these originals and pianist Nando Michelin, bassist Jorge Roeder and drummer Bertram Lehman seem very at home in broadening the boundaries for this to occur organically. What is most striking with this performance, aside from the musicianship, is the way that Salles seamlessly integrates Brazilian rhythms into the jazz structure. His formula is to use them as springboards for compositional development, grounding the entire session and empowering these tunes to allow musical exploration.

Yamandu Costa is a young musician who has taken Brazilian music's long association with the guitar to the next level. He is a technical virtuoso of the Brazilian nylon seven-string and his first solo offering, Mafuá, showcases quick-moving tempos, contemporary improvisation and complex harmonics. Costa amazes with his combination of speed, technique and emotion and uses choro, samba and tango as frameworks to create original music. This makes for a contemporary feel and a wonderfully rich orchestral sound that is a must-hear for lovers of acoustic guitar.

Tracks and Personnel

Live at Caramoor

Tracks: Navegante; Alone Together; Balaio; Lamentos; Choro pra Nos; Ser Feliz; O Fim do Comeco; Desafinado; Wave.

Personnel: Jovino Santos Neto: piano; Weber Iago: piano; Joe Lovano: soprano saxophone (9).


Tracks: ORB; Sphere; Mind Motions; Further South; Noite a Dentro; Libra; The Cage.

Personnel: Felipe Salles: tenor and soprano saxophones; Jacam Manricks: alto saxophone; Nando Michelin: piano; Jorge Roeder: bass; Bertram Lehmann: drums.


Tracks: El Negro Del Blanco; Elodie; Mafuá; Samba pro Rafa; Zamba Tuerto; Bachbaridade; Bostemporanea; Choro Loco; Caminho de Lutz; Quem e voce?; Ressaca; Lalao; Tipo Bicho.

Personnel: Yamandu Costa: acoustic guitars.


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