Lá e Cá (Here and There)
Antonio Adolfo & Carol Saboya
Music passes naturally between generations through a variety of paths, but perhaps the strongest transmission of musical information occurs within families. Children progress artistically at an alarming rate when their parents work as musicians. This could be seen as the work of genetic connections, with musical ability specially written into the fabric of a family’s DNA, but this seems a bit far fetched. Young people that spend their childhood in a musical family simply gain regular exposure to the art of making music – it becomes part of their daily lives. They also have a built-in support system for group practice, musical advice, and listening recommendations. If these children grow into performing musicians, they often develop their own identities apart from their parents, confident enough with their musical abilities to find their own voices. Once they reunite with their family for musical performances though, differences fade away, leaving only artistic understanding. The result is simply moving music. Brazilian pianist Antonio Adolfo features his daughter Carol Saboya on Lá e Cá (Here and There) delivering a stirring performance that resonates with their shared understanding of phrasing, Brazilian repertoire, and jazz improvisation.
Jazz Standards Interpreted With A Unified Sense Of Identity
Adolfo features Saboya on a number of jazz standards, interpreting the well known songs with a uniquely unified sense of identity. A gentle interplay between Adolfo and guitarist Leo Amuedo segues into Saboya’s lyrics on “Time After Time,” giving the singer the opportunity to shape dynamics with a coy subtlety. Adolfo moves into a delicate lyricism on his improvisation, floating over the rhythm section’s quiet groove with a clever development. As Saboya returns to the melody, she stretches phrases and slides around the lyrics with just enough assertion to inspire colorful embellishments from the rhythm section. A blazing unison lick sends the rhythm section into a charging samba on “A Night In Tunisia,” setting the stage for Saboya’s commanding combination of English lyrics and scat syllables. As the group hits a sharp break, trombonist Sergio Trombone leaps into an energetic improvisation that lights a fire under the band with a rhythmic intensity. Both Adolfo and bassist Jorge Helder craft short but potent statements around pieces of the melody, leading into a quick and powerful feature for drummer Rafael Barata. Adolfo thoughtfully constructs a rubato introduction on Cole Porter’s “So In Love,” giving way to Saboya’s classy reading of the lyrics. The vocalist applies a beautifully understated approach to the melody, drawing attention to her gorgeous tone and impeccable sense of phrasing. As Adolfo moves into his improvisation, he insightfully plays off Saboya’s mood, transitioning into her captivating return. A darkly minor introduction takes an uplifting turn with Saboya’s entrance on Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Sabiá,” which the group interprets with a floating sense of time. As Saboya moves through the Portuguese lyrics, her voice resonates with a classic balance of Brazilian articulation and jazz purism. Adolfo blends plenty of space between ideas, letting his statement become a collectively intuitive venture among the rhythm section. There’s an entrancing and free floating give and take between Saboya and the rhythm section throughout these tracks, providing a distinctly original take on classic tunes.
Exploring Several Original Instrumental Compositions
Adolfo leads his group through several original instrumental compositions, bringing his musical personality into the forefront. An aggressive unison lick sets up “Cascavel” with an angular rhythmic pulse, leading into an uplifting and serious melody. Adolfo jumps joyfully into his improvisation, bouncing off the keys with a lively propulsion that inspires involved interaction from Barata. The group quiets behind a smartly constructed statement from Helder, who plays with a melodic freedom and technical virtuosity that makes his ideas come alive. Adolfo establishes a steady pulse with chordal vamps on “Minor Chord,” introducing a melodic duet with Amuedo that sets the tone for the piece. The pianist cleverly weaves bits of the melody around long lines and bluesy embellishments, creating an engaging statement. Amuedo leaps into his improvisation with an enthusiastic zeal, mixing jazz fueled lines with rapid streams of notes and solid thematic development. Adolfo brings together one of his own compositions with a well known Cole Porter tune, delivering a fascinating musical blend of “Toada Jazz (O Retirante)” and “Night And Day.” The group plays with an airy etherial nature as Adolfo spins open sounding melodies over his own composition, gently pushing the band forward with quick bursts of energy. As Amuedo and Helder both glide through interesting improvisational statements, the song quietly transforms into Porter’s classic tune, which Adolfo ingeniously brings into the mix. These tunes find Adolfo featuring his own musical concept, giving a firm picture of his musical identity with several strong compositions.
Mash-Ups Between Jazz Standards And Brazilian Classics
Adolfo creates a number of unique mash-ups between classic jazz standards and Brazilian pieces that feature both his band and Saboya. George Shearing’s “Lullaby Of Birdland” evolves into a lengthy and open melodic statement as Adolfo smoothly blends it with Jobim’s “Garoto.” The group creates a rhythmic vamp around Jobim’s piece, laying the foundation with an ominous and rhythmic statement from Trombone. As Adolfo and Amuedo leap into their improvisations, the group leans back towards Shearing’s piece, allowing for bluesy lines and a joyfully implied swing. Adolfo lays down a tense vamp before his group opens into Saboya’s free flowing vocal on “All The Things You Are.” The pianist reflectively spins delightfully clever variations on the melody through his solo, infusing the familiar setting with colorful harmonic changes. Saboya returns for a beautifully executing trip through the melody, as the song drifts into a vamp from Dori Caymmi and Paulo Cesar Pinheiro’s “Amazon River” for another improvisatory flight from Adolfo. The pianist seamlessly blends Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye” and Jobim’s “Nuvens Douradas” into a melodic journey that takes on a life of its own. Amuedo moves into his improvisation with a respectful pause, exploring the new setting with a sensitive musicality. As the group moves back into the melody, Adolfo and Amuedo trade melodic phrases intuitively, until Adolfo solidly moves into Jobim’s piece with a strong presence. These pieces serve as a clever perspective into Adolfo and Saboya’s musical world, which involves a shared experience between jazz and Brazilian music.
An Artistic That Freely Flows Between Brazilian Ideals And Jazz Improvisation
Adolfo and Saboya present an artistic understanding on Lá e Cá (Here and There) that freely flows between Brazilian musical ideals and jazz improvisation. The repertoire largely explores classic jazz standards, drawing extensively upon stalwarts like Porter, Gillespie, and Shearing. The choice of these tunes doesn’t represent a drastically different musical ideal, but the group’s performance approach certainly stamps the tunes with their own identity. Both Adolfo and Saboya phrase with such an innate grace and defined style, the pieces become undeniably personal. The rhythm section performs with a flowing relationship between Brazilian rhythms and jazz openness, but the music never looses its distinctly Brazilian flavor, due in large part to the defined phrasing. Their performances don’t overwhelm with virtuosity or bold dissonance; instead they demand close listening through beautiful execution and thoughtful musical choices. Adolfo’s band accompanies the pieces with a liberal approach to the music, interacting consistently, but never grabbing the spotlight. Their fresh and evolving presence helps bring the music alive, adding variety and color to the repertoire. Adolfo’s insightful artistic personality shines brightly throughout the album. His clever mash-ups between jazz standards and Brazilian music make interesting statements about the blend between two worlds. His compositions provide great settings for the band to explore their instrumental side, and create nice contrast to the jazz repertoire. Lá e Cá (Here and There) delivers a wonderfully satisfying taste of Brazilian Jazz that sparkles with identity, due in large part to the unified musical approach between Adolfo and Saboya.
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