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Album review: 'Samba Jazz Alley'


Antonio Adolfo

'Samba Jazz Alley'

AAM Music

In the liner notes of his new album, pianist-composer Antonio Adolfo introduces us to an alley in Rio de Janeiro's Copacabana district that enchanted him in his teenage years. This "cauldron of jazz" led him to his life's work -- playing with singers like Flora Purim and Milton Nascimento, and writing songs for Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick, and others. Because Adolfo seeks to transport listeners back to the 1960's world of "Samba Jazz Alley," it's appropriate that most of the tunes are covers.

But even on the most familiar tunes, Adolfo's arrangements steal the show. Jazz fans who have heard Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Corcovado" countless times will find Adolfo's treatment fresh. He peels back the song's layers slowly, with piano, flugelhorn and flute until, finally, the full band comes in with rich harmony. While there are too many fine musicians to mention, Jesse Sadoc is especially strong on trumpet and flugelhorn and Marcelo Martins is excellent on saxophones and alto flute.