Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Antonio Adolfo's HYBRIDO--From Rio to Wayne Shorter on CD

I have to admit, I'm kinda sweet on this one.

Antonio Adolfo's HYBRIDO is Brazilian jazz, and I'm not necessarily the biggest fan of Brazilian jazz. Oh, I adore Getz/Giberto as much as the next audiophile, but I honestly think I burnt out on this genre back in the late '80s or early '90s when it was everywhere and people were dancing to its sexy and fluid rhythms. It's a satisfying sound, energetic and lush, but there was just a point where I said enough, I think I've heard all the Brazilian jazz I want to hear.

HYBRIDO is different. Its Brazilian-ness sneaks up on you behind a dazzling wall of beauty. Pianist and composer Antonio Adolfo has been playing this kind of music for most of his life, and I believe his success and his accessibility is due to his understanding of the parallels between jazz and Brazilian tradition. He treats them differently and doesn't try to melt them into a whole--you can see the dual sensibilities weaving in and out of each other. Does that sound sexy? It is.

Subtitled From Rio to Wayne Shorter, HYBRIDO has a simple concept--Adolfo has taken eight Shorter tracks such as "Deluge," "Prince of Darkness" and "Ana Maria" and merged them with his own musical style. He points to Shorter's concise lyricism along with his "rich harmonies and melodies" as an ideal blend, and the result is incredibly balanced and pleasing. It's not easy listening--there are plenty of musical challenges here--but you will be soothed and caressed along the way. In fact, I'll come right out and say you'll be seduced.

Adolfo has also enlisted an all-star band to coax a genuine sensuality from these songs including guest vocalist Ze Renato, guitarist Lula Galvao. His core band consisting of sax/flute player Marcelo Martins, drummer Rafael Barata and bassist Jorge Helderis is exceptional and well-oiled. But the richest flavors are supplied by Adolfo himself--he isn't flashy but he is persistent and the momentum of his subtle phrasing provides deeper textures that prevent HYBRIDO from being too soft and pliant and moody.

This record, of course, sounds fantastic. The tone is warm and vibrant, which is perhaps why I keep suggesting that it's such a sexy collection of songs. It's full of tone and yet pleasingly dynamic. Recommended.

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