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Victor Assis Brasil: Esperanto/Toca Antonio Carlos Jobim

Chris M. Slawecki By

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By the summer of 1970, popular music's lunatic joyride through the 1960s had fully careened into the new decade. Almost anything and everything still seemed possible. That summer, saxophonist Victor Assis Brasil returned to his home in Brazil from studies (alongside Dizzy Gillespie, Chick Corea, Ron Carter, and others) at the Berklee College of Music to record two albums for jazz producer Roberto Quartin's namesake label: A set of exploratory, deep jazz compositions titled Esperanto, and a warm, respectful tribute, Toca Antonio Carlos Jobim. The same magnificent Brazilian jazz band—bassists Dom Salvador and Edson Lobo, drummer Edison Machado, and guitarist Helio Delmiro—supported the saxophonist through both albums (with an uncredited trumpeter blowing hot Brazilian bop in "Children," and an uncredited pianist diving into "Wave"), which Far Out's Quartin reissue series combined into this double-album, single-disc set.

The spirit of wide open musical horizons, with the freedom and courage to fully explore them, ripples throughout the freewheeling Esperanto. The band rips into Jimmy Heath's "Ginger Bread Boy" as its opener with a deliciously unbridled, almost primal edge on its collective sound, especially Brasil's alto and Delmiro's frantically scratching guitar. They drive "Quarenta Graus A Sombra" into the far-out Mothers of Invention sound, a shapeshifting kaleidoscope of saxophone and guitar—one more explosion in the freedom revolution simultaneously erupting from recording studios around the world at this same time. In between, "Children" snuggles into production that feels more warm and soft, with cool electric keyboards giving shade to saxophone that sings like a child in sunlight.

"So Tinha De Ser Com Voce" opens Toca Antonio Carlos Jobim with this same warm but lively sound, as Brasil's saxophone languidly flows through its comfortable melody in an almost singing voice. Brasil and friends craft "Wave" into a brilliant ten-minute tribute worthy of its target, swirling strong saxophone and piano solos into a jazz whirlpool of reconstructed sound. Brasil adopts a mysterious, almost Egyptian sound on his alto in this skeletal arrangement of "Dindi," with organ chords brooding over the guitarist's electric blues.

Esperanto-Toca Antonio Carlos Jobim is more than a snapshot of a time and place; more importantly, this snapshot captures its essential spirit.

Track Listing: Ginger Bread Boy; Children; Marilia; Quarenta Graus A Sombra; Ao Amigo Quartin; So Tinha De Ser Com Voce; Wave; Bonita; Dindi; Marilla (Alternative Version); Ao Amigo Quartin (Alternative Version).

Personnel: Victor Assis Brasil: alto saxophone; Dom Salvador: piano, electric piano and organ; Edison Machado: drums; Hélio Delmiro: guitar; Edison Lobo: bass.

Title: Esperanto/Toca Antonio Carlos Jobim | Year Released: 2018 | Record Label: Far Out Recordings

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