Antonio Adolfo,
Rio, Choro, Jazz...
(AAM Music, 2014)

I love worldbeat music, and Rio, Choro, Jazz..., by Antonio Adolfo, is a wonderful meld of music by Ernesto Nazareth, a Brazilian composer from roughly 100 years ago, along with modern jazz sensibilities.

The press materials I got with this review copy are really great! I wish they'd included them in the album itself; while the liner notes are good, they're also a bit scanty, so don't give as much depth to what the musicians are doing as I prefer.

Still, the pieces speak for themselves -- even if they are missing some of the historical context! The musicianship is gorgeous, the soloists work brilliantly together and all in all it's a great jazz album that shows its Brazilian roots.

My favorite cut was the very ragtime-influenced "Nao Caio Noutra," though that was the most outlying cut on the album.

All in all, I loved the blend of Brazilian music and jazz, done superbly. It benefits from serious listening, but is also a relaxing but energizing album to listen to while one is doing other things. For me, that's a total win.

by Amanda Fisher
12 July 2014

The word Portugese word choro (pronounced SHO-ro) means "to cry," a reference to the qualities of the flute that are generally to the forefront in these songs. It's a Brazilian form that was developed in the early 20th century and, while it often uses rhythms we find in bossa nova, it also contains African influences. It is instrumental music, popular in all-night jam sessions that were popular in Brazil from the 1920s through the '40s.

And it is fabulous.

The Brazilian composer and pianist Ernesto Nazareth (1863-1934) was the leading composer of choros and, in this album, pianist Antonio Adolfo pays tribute to him, recording nine of his best songs and one original, the title track. His piano and MarCelo Martins' flute center the song, while bass player Jorge Helder, drummer Rafael Barata and percussionist Marcos Suzano all contribute a light but accurate touch that make the music leave the firmament and appear to fly.

Then they turn to Nazareth's music, which do not at all sound as if they were written in the early part of the 20th century. Maybe it's Adolfo's arrangements but the songs sound contemporary or, more accurately, timeless. Adolfo respects the tradition, and his playing shows that he also loves it, but he is not tied down by it. He and his band bring up to date jazz to the party.

And a party it is. This is wonderful stuff. If, like me, your knowledge of Brazilian music is limited to the Stan Getz/Antonio Carlos Jobim collaborations or Charlie Byrd's interpretations and Paul Winter's early bossa nova records, you've got a very pleasant surprise in store.

Antonio Adolfo's Rio, Choro, Jazz... will take on a musical journey that you do not want to pass up.

by Michael Scott Cain
1 November 2014