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Adriano Santos: In Session

Dan Bilawsky By

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Drummer Adriano Santos brings the rhythms of Brazil to the Big Apple when he performs. Santos, originally from São Paulo, has been an essential part of the jazz scene in New York since he moved there in 1995. His crisp, authentic and creative grooves have made him a first call drummer for Hendrik Meurkens, Vinicius Cantuaria, Claudio Roditi and many others. While Santos seemed content to live solely in the drummer-as-sideman role for many years, thankfully this has changed. In Session marks his debut as a recording leader, and the album is filled with the rhythmically vital music of his homeland.

Santos chose an array of music written by some of Brazil's most revered composers. Compositions by Milton Nascimento, Airto Moreira, Moacir Santos, Toninho Horta and many others are performed with precision and passion and Santos' pulsating bass drum patterns are at the center of these songs. Percussionist Dendê helps to color the music—even conjuring images of a misty rainforest once or twice—and he blends well with Santos in a few key solo spots. Bassist David Ambrosio locks in with the drums and percussion on these songs, allowing saxophonist David Binney and pianist Helio Alves some room to work their magic.

Binney's work on soprano saxophone and alto saxophone livens up the music and he seems to get stronger and more creative as the album goes on. His lengthy solo on "Pro Zeca" and his spicy work on "Amphibious" are two of his strongest performances. Alves is clearly comfortable in the musical waters of Brazil but he also shows a blues-based side to his playing during "Contemplação" and "From The Lonely Afternoons." Santos also demonstrates his diverse stylistic tendencies throughout the album. While his affinity for Latin grooves is obvious from the get-go, he shows off other strengths as he creates hypnotic ride patterns on "Xibaba" and drives the band with a train-like hi-hat pattern on the modernistic "Ninho Da Vespa."

With In Session, Adriano Santos has created a record that surveys the finest songwriters from his country, showcases the talents of his band members and highlights his impressive drumming all at once.


Track Listing: Sabor Carioca; From The Lonely Afternoons; De Ton Pra Tom; Xibababa; Contemplação; Pro Zeca; Amphibious; Ninho Da Vespa.

Personnel: David Binney: alto and soprano saxophones; Helio Alves: piano; David Ambrosio: bass; Dendê: percussion; Adriano Santos: drums, percussion.

Title: In Session | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Self Produced

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