In the early 1960s, bright new rhythms traveled northward from Brazil, kindling a "bossa nova craze" that swept through the jazz world and spilled over into the realm of pop music, led by saxophonists such as Stan Getz
, Bud Shank
and Zoot Sims
, and abetted by guitarists Charlie Byrd
, Laurindo Almeida
and others. After scoring a hit in 1962 with an adaptation of Antonio Carlos Jobim
's "One Note Samba," Getz had a million-seller the following year, again thanks to Jobim, with "Desafinado." He teamed with singer Joao Gilberto
for yet another blockbuster, "The Girl from Ipanema." Others soon climbed aboard the fast-moving bossa bandwagon, which rolled merrily along for several years before the phenomenon gradually slowed to its inevitable conclusion.
Saxophonist Lukas Hein
, not yet thirty, wasn't around when the bossa nova mania first arose, but he must have done his share of listening to Getz, Shank, Sims and the others, as his debut album with Dialeto Brasileiro, a rhythm trio from Rio de Janeiro, recreates with fondness the music of that era. Hein does his very best impression of Getz, whose sound was unique among tenor men at the time and remains pretty much so to this day. Hein, however, has listened closely to that sound, assimilated its shadings and timbre, and fashioned a modulation of his own that closely resembles the captivating sound that Getz was able to produce.
Whether the world needs a Stan Getz clone, or a bossa nova revival, is a topic for debate. Nevertheless, what we have here is a saxophonist who sounds a great deal like Getz, performing mostly bossas (including three numbers by Jobim) with a trio of native Brazilians. Hein's soft, breathy style is well-suited to the music, his improvisations graceful if not galvanizing; his teammates are staunch and supportive, as if they'd been playing this music all their lives (which in all likelihood they have). There is no guitar, but bassist Wagner Soares Trindale contributes a couple of engaging solos, as does pianist Cassio Vianna
. Meanwhile, drummer Claudio Rochat-Felix
keeps impeccable time.
Besides interpreting music written by others, Hein composed the buoyant "Samba de Mais Notas," which is enchanting. The only other composer's name that would be familiar to adherents of American jazz is that of Mal Waldron
, whose expressive "Soul Eyes" closes the album. Although Hein's debut album leans more backward than forward, it is nonetheless admirable and pleasing, and the hope is he will soon be heard from again, whether in bossa nova apparel or some other suitable clothing.