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Duduka Da Fonseca & Helio Alves: New York, NY, December 22, 2012

Dan Bilawsky By
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Duduka Da Fonseca and Helio Alves
Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola
New York, New York
December 22, 2012

The air in New York's Central Park carried a chill on the Saturday night before Christmas, 2012, but a balmy Brazilian atmosphere was keeping folks warm a stone's throw away, inside Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. Drummer Duduka Da Fonseca and pianist Helio Alves convened a collection of their friends and frequent associates for a stroll through the best of Brazil and beyond, and they attracted quite a crowd on this particular evening. Seven musicians, in various configurations, entertained a packed house for more than an hour during the night's opening set.

The group kicked things off with trumpeter Tom Harrell's buoyant "Terrestris," which featured some of Anat Cohen's finest tenor playing of the set, and continued with pianist Dom Salvador's "Gafieira." Bassist Hans Glawischnig proved to be the most captivating soloist here, keeping the audience in a state of rapt attention. Cohen switched to clarinet for composer/multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal's "Chorinho Pra Êle," which highlighted her charming virtuosity and guitarist Romero Lubambo's focused soloing.

Vocalist Maucha Adnet joined the band for Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Águas de Março," displaying charisma throughout, and invited her sister, vocalist Muiza Adnet, to join the group for Moacir Santos' "Se Voce Disser Que Sim." When Muiza departed the stage, Maucha took the opportunity to touch on naughty Christmas notions with "Presente De Natal," which ended with some brief "Jingle Bells" allusions. The second chorinho of the evening ("O Que Vier Eu Traço") was more than a mouthful for Maucha, but she handled herself beautifully. Her spirited vocal sprints, and the solo work of Cohen and Lubambo, won the day during this performance.

Da Fonseca took center stage with his berimbau, dedicating his solo to his mother-in-law, and set the scene for a trio performance ("Vera Cruz") that gave pause to admire Glawischnig's brilliant bass playing. His arco lines coasted over Alves' rubato piano cushions before Da Fonseca put things in motion with his magical, muted triangle-driven groove. As the piece developed, Glawischnig's pizzicato prowess became all too apparent, Da Fonseca let loose with some dominant drum work, and all three men traveled through peaks and valleys aplenty as they explored the rhythmic possibilities within the piece. Cohen, Lubambo and Adnet returned to close the set out with a spooky-to-smoking take on "O Morro Não Tem Vez." Cohen, now back on tenor saxophone, Lubambo, and Alves each had a chance to peddle their wares as the set came to a close in fun fashion.

The Mayans may have prophesied that the world would end before this show took place, but it's a good thing they were wrong; that would have deprived too many people of the opportunity to hear some of the best Brazilian jazz in existence.

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