Big bands are a rarity in Brazilian jazz. Nonetheless pianist/composer Antonio Adolfo says he dreamed for 40 years of making an album with a world-class big band. His dream comes true with EncontroasOrquestra Atlantica. While a relatively new and untried aggregate, on the evidence of this excellent, always interesting album, the Atlantica look set to become a major force at home and abroad.
Under Adolfo's leadership, the band performs nine of his own songs plus the Miles Davis' classic "Milestones" from 1958. Arranger Jesse Sandoc, trumpeter with the Atlantica, managed the seemingly impossible feat of combining Davis' cool approach with the heat and drive of frevo, Brazilian carnival music.
Includedright at the endis what many consider to be Adolfo's greatest hit, "Sa Marina." It was written in 1967. With lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman it was retitled "Pretty World." In this guise it was recorded by more than 200 artists. Adolfo has tidied it up with a punchy, modern arrangement that features solos by himself and tenor saxophonist Marcello Martins. Levi Chaves on baritone briefly duels so well with trombonist Aldivas Ayres that you wish space had been left for more.
Alfredo gets funky on "Africa Bahia Bresil," which celebrates the influence of Africa on the Brazilian style known as afoxe, originally used as an accompaniment to magical rituals.
"Delicado Jazz Waltz" is just that, a reminder that when it comes to writing for big bands, there is a need for gentle numbers to contrast with powerhouse ensembles. Accordionist Marcos Nimrichter shares solo honours with Adolfo.
Partido Samba-Funk; Pentatonica; Atlantica; Luizao; Milestones; Saudade; Capoeira Yá; Africa Bahia Brasil; Delicada jazz Waltz; Sa Marina.
Antonio Adolfo: piano; Nelson Faria, Claudio Jorge, Leo Amuedo: guitars; Jorge Helder: bass; Rafael Barata: drums; Dada Costa: percussion; Danilo Sinna: alto saxophone and flute; Marcelo Martins: tenor saxophone and flute; Marcos Nimrichter: accordion; Ze Renato: vocals.