With well over thirty albums to his name, Brazilian composer and pianist Antonio Adolfo has now conjured up a really attractive paean to the master saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter. The selection of tracks is excellent because it clearly demonstrates just how key a figure Shorter is to jazz. It doesn't replicate the 1988 Blue Note collection The Best Of Wayne Shorter but does include three numbers from that album.
"Deluge" offers a warm ensemble-led invocation of this enticing track taken from Ju Ju. Then there's a relaxed version of Shorter's classic "Footprints," embellished by Zé Renato's wordless vocals. "Prince of Darkness" from Miles Davis's 1967 album Sorcerer is lusciously percussion-rich (including a deep tabla-like Baião percussion introduction). "Black Nile" from 1964's Night Dreamer is a satisfying interpretation of the original with bright piano from Adolfo.
The elegance of "Beauty And The Beast" is encapsulated in its mixture of bossa and samba (Adolfo refers to it as SamBossa) and is one of two tracks taken from Shorter's "Native Dancer" album which he recorded with Milton Nascimento. The title track from Speak No Evil is a model of stately modality with its majestic and memorable theme and rich tenor solo from Marcelo Martins whilst the elegant "Ana Maria," again from Native Dancer, sports some nimble guitar from Lula Galvão.
To conclude the set, there's a lone self-penned number by Adolfo, "Afosamba," a perfect example of his first-rate talent as a composer. The arrangements throughout are strong and for those familiar with all the Shorter tracks it affords them a new and vibrant dimension. For those unfamiliar with the numbers, the album will serve as an excellent and enticing primer, prior to sampling the original source material. It's also a timely reminder of just how important Shorter is in terms of his illustrious back catalogue of compositions.
Beauty and the Beast;
Prince of Darkness;
Speak No Evil;
Antonio Adolfo: piano; Lula Galvao: electric guitar; Jorge Helder: bass; Rafael Barata:
drums; Andre Siqueira: percussion; Jesse Sadoc: trumpet; Marcelo Martins: tenor and
soprano saxophones, flute; Serginho Trombone: trombone; Ze Renato: vocals (2);
Claudio Spiewak: acoustic guitar (3).
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