Trumpeter Claudio Roditi may have left Brazil long ago, but his homeland still resides deep inside his soul. On Bons Amigos, Roditi's trumpet speaks, sings and soars in service of songs put to paper by some of the finest writers in Brazilian music history. When it came time to map out a program for this, his third album on Resonance Records, Roditi sat down with producer/label head George Klabin and focused on music, written in the period between the '60s and the early '80s , by Brazilian composers whoin Klabin's words"had a major influence on Claudio's approach." Songs from Egberto Gismonti, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Toninho Horta, and several other composers made the cut, and Roditi rightfully added some of his own originals into the mix to round out the program.
His warm tone, which can be dually credited to his personal sound and use of rotary valve horns, has become somewhat of a trademark, and he uses it well in this varied setting. He flies atop the band on the baião-based "O Sonho," delivers a lovely, lyrical performance on the title track, and comfortably glides around during his own "Bossa De Mank." When Jobim's music makes an appearance, as it almost always seems to do on Brazilian-based jazz albums, Roditi sings with his voice and his trumpet. While his vocals don't measure up to his horn work, he still possesses a pleasing voice and keen understanding of the nuances in phrasing that can only come with a lifetime of living this music.
Brazilian beats bolster the band during the majority of these tracks, but swing makes an appearance on the trumpeter's "Levitation," proving a welcome contrast as the album inches closer to its end. While this outing is technically a quintet session, the sixth man here is pianist Tamir Hendelman, who never touches the keys, but provides classy, five-star arrangements for half of the songs on the album. His writing brings dreamy passion to "Fantasia," sophistication and swaying swagger to Eliane Elias' "Amandamada," and sheer joy to "O Sonho," which features some killer solo work from guitarist Romero Lubambo and pianist Donald Vega.
With Bons Amigos, Claudio Roditi confirms his reputation as the ultimate trumpet exponent of Brazilian-based jazz.
O Sonho, Para Nada, Bossa De Mank, Ceu E Mar, Bons Amigos, Ligia,
Levitation, Fantasia, Amandamada, Piccolo Samba.
Claudio Rodit: trumpet, flugelhorn and piccolo trumpet; Romero Lubambo:
electric and acoustic guitars; Donald Vega: piano; Marco Panascia: bass;
Mauricio Zottarelli: drums; Tamir Hendelman: arranger (1, 2, 5, 8, 9).
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