By Gary Fukushima | Published January 2022
Antonio Carlos Jobim is canonized in the annals of jazz history for firmly implanting the term “bossa nova” into public consciousness, and for his gift as a composer. Reharmonize this music at your own peril, for it’s hard to improve on perfection.
Such was the challenge facing pianist and composer Antonio Adolfo, who presents these timeless, but well-worn, standards in a fresh light. He might be uniquely suited for the task, given his prominent stature as one of Brazil’s preeminent composers and arrangers.
Out of the gate, Adolfo tackles Jobim’s best-known tune, “The Girl From Ipanema,” maintaining the song’s unusual beauty while shifting toward darker moods, as if she were spotted later that night in an elegant evening gown. “A Felicidade” introduces a more portentous sentiment with a modal pedal point over the opening melodic statement. The tragic harmony of “How Insensitive” remains intact, its Chopin-inspired harmonic descent uplifted through transpositions of the form.
Overall, the arrangements move fluidly between the composer and arranger’s harmonic innovations, the subtlety of the changes illustrating a high degree of deference. The band of Brazilian first-call players executes the music with precision and a radiant, but effervescent, energy indicative of that country’s version of West Coast California cool.
Jobim Forever: The Girl From Ipanema; Wave; A Felicidade; How Insensitive; Favela (O Morro Nao Tem Vez); Inutil Paisagem; Agua De Beber; Amparo/Intro: Por Toda A Minha Vida, Estrada Do Sol. (48:56)
Personnel: Antonio Adolfo, piano, arranger; Jesse Sadoc, trumpet, flugelhorn (4, 6, 8, 9); Marcelo Martins, tenor and soprano saxophone, flute (4, 9); Danilo Sinna, alto saxophone; Rafael Rocha, trombone; Lula Galvao, guitars; Jorge Helder, double bass; Rafael Barata, drums (1–3, 7), percussion (1, 3, 5, 8, 9); Dada Costa, percussion (2–5, 7, 8); Paulo Braga, drums (4–6, 8, 9); Zé Renato, vocals (3).
Ordering Info: antonioadolfomusic.com