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Samba Jazz & The Music of Jobim: New York, NY, April 28, 2011

Ernest Barteldes By

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Samba Jazz & The Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim
Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola
New York, NY
April 28, 2011

The music of Antonio Carlos Jobim was at the center of this five-day (April 28-May 3) residency featuring Duduka Da Fonseca (drums), Helio Alves (piano), Claudio Roditi (trumpet), Toninho Horta (electric and acoustic guitars, vocals), George Mraz (bass) and Maucha Adnet (vocals), who gave a solid performance from both bossa nova and jazz points of view.

The basic trio formed by Da Fonseca, Alves and Mraz started off with an up-tempo jazz take on "Desafinado." During his accomplished solo, Mraz used lots of blues touches, changing the tune's cadence during his solo and also as they wrapped up following Da Fonseca's dexterous solo. Roditi then joined them for "Passarim," one of Jobim's more obscure numbers. The group took a subtler approach as Da Fonseca played the drums with his hands in lieu of drumsticks during Alves' solo.

As Adnet took the stage for "Chovendo na Roseira," the group changed into a more classic bossa format, playing the tunes closer to the composer's original arrangements—the same held true with "Dindi," a tune popularized in the U.S. via Frank Sinatra's 1967 recording with Jobim. Adnet—who was a member of Jobim's band for several years—had a great delivery and chemistry with the musicians. During the wordless "Blusa Vermelha," she sang in harmony with Roditi's trumpet and played some percussion during "O Morro Nao Tem Vez," which featured an excellent solo from Alves.

The direction changed again when Toninho Horta joined the ensemble. "You now lead the band," said Da Fonseca as the guitarist plugged in his Stratocaster to play his "Beijo Partido," a gentle bossa about the end of a love affair. He followed with "Once I Loved," backed solely by Mraz and himself on guitar as he sang in an almost whispered vocal, which made the tune his own as he added a spirited solo and a snippet of "Water To Drink" shortly before closing the song. Shifting to an acoustic guitar, Horta soloed on a stirring instrumental rendition of Henry Mancini's "Moon River," a tune he described as one of his personal favorites.

The ensemble (minus Adnet and Roditi) returned to the stage for the Baden-Powell/ Vinicius de Morais collaboration "Berimbau," the closing number for the set. Da Fonseca played the title instrument himself, freely improvising with its sole string—as when he pressed the gourd against his body to create a sonic texture—then returned to his kit and continued to lead the band into a straight-ahead samba take on the tune.

The evening was a good reminder of how versatile the music of Jobim can be. It was also a testament to these tunes' timelessness. Formed by musicians with storied careers both in the U.S. and abroad, the ensemble did the tunes great justice, which made for a highly enjoyable experience.

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