The second effort led by Duduka Da Fonseca, the drummer in Trio da Paz, is a triumphant successor to 2002's Samba Jazz Fantasia that manages to surpass the promise of its Grammy-nominated predecessor. This delightful disc features his talented working quintet with saxophonist/clarinetist Anat Cohen, pianist Helio Alves, guitarist Guilherme Monteiro and bassist Leonardo Cioglia romping through a particularly well-chosen program of music by Brazilian composers.
They are joined on several tracks by guests who contribute to the date's refreshing variety and celebratory mood. The disc opens swinging with "Mestre Bembe," on which Maucha Adnet and Alana Da Fonseca (the leader's wife and daughter) add ethereal wordless vocals, harmonizing the complex melodic line that melds samba, afoxé and marcha rhythms, creating an airy atmosphere that contrasts effectively with the ensuing earthy "Janeiro," a feature for Cohen's funky tenor. Chico Adnet's arrangement of "Bye Bye Brasil" transforms the breezy Chico Buarque hit into a jazz ballad showcase for Claudio Roditi, who plays his beautiful muted trumpet sublimely over the leader's lightly brushed rhythms. Cohen's fluid clarinet, one of the best in jazz today, is superbly spotlighted on Hermeto Pascoal's classic "Chorinho Pra Ele."
Vic Juris and Paolo Levi stand in for Monteiro and Cohen on "Viver De Amor" and "Medo De Amar." The former, by Tonhino Horta, is an intriguing number with a pleasant R&B flavor that features Levi's relaxed tenor floating over Alves' jittery piano and Juris' swelling sustained chordal accompaniment. The latter is a showcase for Maucha's beautiful vocal part, Levi's overdubbed flute choir providing a lush orchestral background to her romantic reading of Vinicius De Moraes' Portuguese lyric.
The remainder of the date is devoted to the core quintet. Cohen's sensitive and strong soprano shines on Egberto Gismonti's pretty "Palhaco," a folkish piece that recalls Keith Jarrett's work with Jan Garbarek. Da Fonseca opens "Tierra De Angara" with a masterfully malleted introduction, setting the mood for the members of the group to stretch out. "O Grande Amor," the date's requisite Jobim piece, is a moving vehicle for Cohen's warm evocative tenor. Alves' enjoyable "Sambetinho" and the closing "Dry Land" by Marcos Silva end the satisfying date on an upbeat note, allowing plenty of room for energetic improvisation.
The first jazz record I received
as a visiting gift from my
Japanese uncle at his
international division of
Toshiba EMI Tokyo was a
sample copy of Miles Davis'
Bitches Brew. A game
changer redirecting my
browsing habits and collection.