Adriano Santos Quintet
Every genre holds a set of master composers – the artists that write songs that everyone encounters during their career. Some of these composers become household names, reaching the general public around the world with the strength of their creations. Other composers loose the connection with the mass audience, but earn the respect of artists and more refined listeners. Their compositions might cross genre barriers and find a home in another musical world, or they might simply stay confined in one artistic landscape. Regardless of their legacy, these composers all have one thing in common; they write unforgettable music with lyrical melodies and appealing chordal foundations. The strength of vital musical elements keeps these songs alive across multiple generations of listeners and performers. Listeners always return to these songs, appreciating their beauty across diverse interpretations from various artists. Musicians spend years studying these compositions, learning the inner details of the composer’s approach and investigating the space for personal interpretation. These songs become cultural marker that transcend style and simply float into the realm of great music, setting the standard for future musical statements. Drummer Adriano Santos recognizes a number of important Brazilian composers on In Session, leading his quintet through an inspired set of major compositions.
Performing With Enthusiasm And Flair
Santos and his group attack a number of up-tempo classics with enthusiasm and flair, delivering memorable performances. The full group charges quickly into a driving samba behind the main melody on Raul Mascaranhas’ “Sabor Carioca,” committing to the song with a lively intensity. Saxophonist David Binney flies into his improvisation with racing runs that wisely wrap through the colorful chord changes until pianist Helio Alves jumps into his solo with an energetic zeal that pushes him into an inspired interaction with Santos. Both Binney and Alves take turns trading eight bar phrases with percussionist Dendé, leading into an enthusiastic display of syncopated creativity from Santos. The group provides coloristic shading over ethereal nature sounds on the introduction to Milton Nascimento and Fernando Brant’s “From the Lonely Afternoons,” until Santos slides into an up-tempo samba rhythm behind an understated melody. Binney kicks the song into high gear with a thoughtful solo that winds legato melodic ideas around smart rhythmic figures, helping build the band into a convicted momentum. Alves creates contrast with short rhythmic ideas, stretching into longer thoughts and chordal attacks that lead towards a rising dynamic. Alves leaps into a bluesy rhythmic vamp over a driving baião rhythm on Victor Assis Brasil’s “Pro Zeca,” as Binney storms into an upbeat and memorable melody. Binney takes his time developing his ideas, moving through several choruses with an inventive inertia that stretches his thoughts into a larger statement. Alves builds off the song’s original vamp, racing long bluesy lines over the groove, leading into a smart and unforgettable percussion display from both Dendé and Santos. Alves introduces a frenetic melody over the breakneck speed of Santos’ drums on Dorival Caymmi and Paulo Cesar Pinheiro’s “Ninho da Vespa,” until Binney joins him for a full reading. The rhythm section disappears behind Binney’s solo, who takes advantage of the sonic space, stretching his ideas freely and creatively. Some brilliant interaction between piano, sax, and drums leads organically into Alves’ improvisation, which becomes charged with the rhythmic power of the pianist’s lines and his melodic ingenuity. The group dives into these pieces with conviction and passion, showing a deep connection to the music and a respect for the artists.
Taking The Group In Different Directions
Santos takes the group in several different directions on other pieces, skillfully arranging the songs in unique ways. Alves provides rich chordal support behind Binney’s gentle interpretation of Toninho Horta’s “From Ton to Tom” until Santos and bassist David Ambrosio push the song into a moving samba groove. The rhythm section falls into a subdued bossa nova behind Alves’ improvisation, allowing the pianist to apply a soft reflective touch to his statement. Binney maintains the same careful lyricism in his solo until the rhythm section pops back into a samba for an upbeat finish. An unaccompanied combination of percussion and vocals from Dendé sets a serious tone to Airto Moreira’s “Xibaba,” until Binney and Alves wind a catchy melody around a six beat samba. Alves makes good use of the samba’s different rhythmic meter, bouncing melodies around the groove with a playful spirit. Binney applies a more dramatic approach to his solo with a heavy intensity, and after a loosely interpreted return to the melody, Santos and Dendé engage in an inspired exchange of improvised ideas. Ambrosio stretches out over a light cha cha cha with an insightful sense of melodic creativity on J.T. Meirelles’ “Contemplação,” leading into a quick and understated melody from Binney. Alves quickly contrasts the laid back feel with an inspired push behind his solo, breaking up long jazz fueled lines with prodding rhythmic figures. Binney begins his improvisation with long lazy notes, slowly building into a screaming series of squawking lines that provoke a frenzied response from Santos. A unison rhythmic melody from Binney and Alves skips against a sparse backdrop on Moacir Santos’ “Amphibious” until a decidedly minor tonality sends the band into a driving son montuno. As the rhythm section falls back into samba, Binney refers to the melody, leaping between the familiar and original with a decided urgency. Alves spins boppish lines through the changes, building intensity with bluesy embellishments and aggressive chordal attacks. These pieces diversify the set, bringing some different influences into the performance while holding onto the integrity of the compositions.
Paying The Highest Possible Tribute To Classic Composers
Santos presents a number of Brazilian Jazz classics with class and style on In Session, exploring them with respect and an unflappable musicality. The choice of repertoire reveals Santos’ deep connection to Brazilian music, as he digs past obvious choices and finds some true gems. He has done his homework in many ways, making sure that the pieces are performed with a lively attitude that reflects upon the composer respectfully. At the same time, Santos keeps his focus upon jazz and improvisation, always letting inspiration sit at the core of the recordings. He lets his musicians take long extended solos that evolve organically over the music, guaranteeing exciting results. Santos plays with an appealing groove that holds true to the heartbeat of Brazilian styles, but also opens into the interactive nature of jazz. Binney serves as a perfect companion in Santos’ musical statement, bringing a jazz sensibility to the recording with his biting tone and focused improvisational intensity. Alves brings his extensive experience across both jazz and Brazilian music into the mix, serving as the glue that simultaneously holds things together and keeps the performance flexible. Santos and his group obviously hold the repertoire on In Session close to their hearts, and they let it show, paying the highest possible tribute to the composers – an inspired, creative, and musical performance filled with passion and conviction.
Check Out These Related Posts:
Album Of The Week: Samba To Go, Hendrik Meurkens
Album Of The Week: Copacabana, Nilson Matta’s Brazilian Voyage
Album Of The Week: Sambatropolis, Hendrik Meurkens
Album Of The Week: Off & On: The Music Of Moacir Santos, Mark Levine And The Latin Tinge