Jun 15, 2016 09:17 AM EDT | Mike Greenblatt (email@example.com)
Last year, Antonio Adolfo's Tema was an alternative to actually traveling to Rio de Janeiro and soaking up Brazilian samba. This year, his Tropical Infinito (AAM Music), with his new octet, pinpoints an early 1960s samba groove revitalized and reimagined but keeping the essential DNA that makes this music so earthy, swaying, satisfying and sensual.
The five covers and four originals are so meticulously arranged that all nine could be considered original. Adolfo is a master of the genre. He's been teaching, composing, arranging and performing on piano for more years than I'm sure he'll care to admit yet he's not yet 70.
To open, AA turns two gems by bebopper Benny Golson -- "Killer Joe" and "Whisper Not" -- into samba with in-your-face solos by electric guitarist Leo Amuedo, tenor saxophonist Marcelo Martins and, of course, some syncopated/percussive AA pianistics.
Samba was the furthest thing from Oliver Nelson's mind when he wrote "Stolen Moments" for Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis in 1960. Yet AA does it more than just justice. It's a highlight. Conversely, Horace Silver's "Song For My Father" did, indeed, have a Latin-tinged flair when originally recorded in 1965 and, thus, is a perfect inclusion. The piece has become a jazz standard, having been covered an estimated 200 times, most famously by Steely Dan as the intro to "Rikki Don't Lose That Number."
Since this project is rooted in the 1960s, Adolfo is hip enough to include the "gafieiras" dance music popular in that era. To that end, trumpet/flugelhorn man Jesse Sadoc lends his expertise on the subject to four tracks.
As long as Antonio Adolfo keeps putting out keeper CDs like his last two, I can hold off on Bucket List entry #4 of traveling to Brazil.
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