It could not have been an easy task to compile the Adventure Music Ten Years 3-CD set to commemorate the label’s decade of recording and documenting some of the finest new music by classic and new Brazilian artists—and artists performing the music of Brazil—living in both Brazil and the US.
But handing over that task to a musician with the pedigree of Monday Michiru proved that it became an adventure (of the storied kind) that has surpassed all expectation. Granted that many of the fine tracks from Adventure Music’s vast archives may not have made it to this voluminous set, but it would appear that the most essential ones still did; and there are a few surprises here as well, especially those from the Moacir Santos, Orquestra Popular de Câmara, the Modern Traditions Ensemble, Claudia Villela and Richard Peixoto, Maeve Gilchrist and Maria Marquez; and surprisingly, the great Colombian singer, Lucia Pulido as well. As Ms. Michiru suggested in her short notes, this is something more to lust after from the label that ought to be better known for what it does for Brazilian music, much of which—especially MPB and later—is almost impossible to get in mainstream channels in North America.
There is another problem with gaining access to Brazilian music; which makes Adventure Music all the more gem-like and it is this: The Brazilian labels are not terribly interested in servicing America and Canada. This might be due to the fact that Brazil is such a vast country and labels such as Biscoito Fino—probably the largest Brazilian label—seems complacent with sales from that country alone. And if this seems like a rant it is because there is an enormous following for Brazilian music—as rich and varied as jazz and modern classical music or Afro-Caribbean music; and this is what makes this 10th anniversary compilation almost too valuable to pass on. Add to that the fact that you have forty-four tracks on the three records in this compilation and there is a very enduring reason for owning this compilation.
There is also the fact that this compilation ought to serve as a touchstone for following much of what is great about Brazilian music and its musicians, of course. One of the leading reasons is to discover the music of the great Moacir Santos. The multi-instrumentalist and composer migrated to the US from the northeast of Brazil via Rio bringing with a mind soaked in tradition and after he had recorded one of the finest albums by a Brazilian, Coisas (Dubas Musica, 1965). Mr. Santos was the Muse for Roberto Menescal, Dori Caymmi, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim, Carlos Lyra, Joao Donato and Baden Powell, many of whom came to him for lessons. Adventure music was responsible for two of his last recorded albums, Ouro Negro (2004) and Choros & Alegria (2005). Enough cannot be said of the legacy of Mr. Santos’ music. Simply put he is one of the true legends of Brazilian music and there are those who believe that his influence on those who absorbed the rhythms of Brazil in the rest of the world is as great, if not greater than that of Antonio Carlos Jobim and João Gilberto. Mr. Santos is well-represented on this compilation as he is one of the mainstays of the label.
There is also a de rigueur representation of the work of Jovino Santos Neto, a disciple of Hermeto Pascoal, a fine pianist and one of Brazil’s most important imports to the US. Mr. Santos Neto has released almost all of his recent work on the Adventure Music and is also well-represented by some of his finest charts from his collaboration with Mike Marshall, Serenata (2003) and one of his finest albums to date, Alma do Nordeste (2008). The sensational Clarice Assad is also there with a mesmerising medley dedicated to Elis Regina, from her (Ms. Assad’s) album to die for, Home. The Adnet’s are also there, as is Benjamin Taubkin from the first in a great new series entitled Piano Masters. Tom Lellis, one of the finest male vocalists and one of the few who can interpret Brazilian music like no other, is also on the compilation.
Mike Marshall is represented by one of his finest efforts—a duet with Caterina Lichtenberg—“The Cat, the mouse and the chicken”. As well as his “El Diablo Suelta” form his 2005 album, Brazil Duets as well as a couple of his other fine albums. There are fine examples of the ingenuity of both the Brazilian mandolin player Hamilton de Holanda and the guitarist Yamandú Costa. Music from outside Brazil—Colombia, to be precise is also in this compilation. Lucía Pulido is represented by a chart from her great album, Waning Moon and Antonio Arnedo has a selection from Colombia.
As much as this is a fine sampler of the kind of music that is produced by Adventure Music, it is also creditable that its editor, Monday Michiru has done a yeoman job of keeping in some of the best charts from perhaps some of the finest Brazilian music produced outside that great country.
Tracks: CD 1: Vinheta Espanha Ou Do Agreste?; Bluishmen; Keeper Of The Flame; For Elis; Gregorian Samba; Se Você Disser Que Sim; Cravo e Canela; Song Of Delight; The Cat, The Mouse, And The Chicken; Brasilianos; Tanto Canto; Adeus America; Roseando; Sharon By The Sea; Em Torno De Influências; CD 2: Felipe; Road Song; Colsas Demais Por Fazer; El Futuro, flOr; Tonada; Passareiro; Ano Bom; Dirt Road; Vento; Outro Rio; Ima; Baião Tva; Yo No Tengo Quien Ma Quiera; Flor Da Vida; Cançsões E Momentos; CD 3: Alma Do Nordeste; De Repente, Estou Feliz; Um Trombone Na Rua Tereza; Receita De Samba; Music Inside; Signals Of Rain; Cumbia Cienaguera; Nature’s Princess; El Diablo Suelta; Lamentos Do Morro; Agora Eu Sei; Agora Eu Sei; Forslund; Choro Moreno.
Personnel: CD 1: Orquestra Popular de Câmara ( Orquestra Popular de Câmara, 2004); Moacir Santos (Ouro Negro, Disc 1, 2004); Tom Lellis (Southern Exposure, 2003); Daniel Santiago (Metropole, 2009); Muiza Adnet (Muiza Adnet sings Moacir Adnet, 2007; Ricardo Silveira and Luiz Avelar (Live: Play the music of Milton Nascimento, 2004); Maeve Gilchrist (Maeve Gilchrist, 2011); Caterina Lichtenberg and Mike Marshall (Caterina Lichtenberg and Mike Marshall, 2010); Hamilton de Holanda Quintet (Brasilanos, 2006; Lea Freire (The Winds of Brazil, 2006); Samba Meets Boogie Woogie (Samba Meets Boogie Woogie, 2008); Mike Marshall and Jovino Santos Neto (Serenata, 2003); Eva Scow and Dusty Brough (Sharon by the sea,2009); Benjamin Taubkin (Piano Masters Series, Vol 1, 2012); CD 2: Moacir Santos (Choros and Alegria, 2005); Alex Hargreaves (Preludes< ?em>, 2010); Marcos Amorim (Sete Capelas/Seven Chapels, 2006); Florencia Ruiz (Luz de la noche/Light of the night, 2011); Maria Marquez (Tonada , 2012); Jovino Santos Neto (Alma do nordesta, 2008); Hamilton de Holanda Quinteto (Brasilanos 2, 2009); Philippe Baden Powell (Estrada de terra, 2006); Nicola Stilo and Toninho Horta (Duets, 2005); Ricardo Silveira (Outro Rio, 2007); Claudia Villela and Richard Peixoto (Inverse Universe , 2002); Gui Mallon (Live at Montreux, 2004); Lucia Pulido (Waning Moon, 2008); Yamandú Costa and Hamilton de Holanda (Live!, 2012); Tom Lellis (Southern Exposure, 2003); CD 3: Jovino Santos Neto (Alma do nordesta, 2008); Moacir Santos (Ouro Negro, Disc 2, 2004); Vittor Santos (Renewed Impressions, 2006); Mike Marshall and choro famoso (Mike Marshall and Choro Famoso, 2004); Mario Adnet (From the heart, 2006); André Vasconcellos (2, 2010; Antonio Arnedo (Colombia, 2005); Maria Marquez (Nature’s Princess, 2004); Mike Marshall (Brazil Duets, 2005); Modern Traditions Ensemble (New Old Music, 2005); Moacir Santos (Choros and alegria, 2005); Contemporary America (Another Center, 2007; Mike Marshall and Darol Anger with Väsen (Mike Marshall and Darol Anger with Väsen, 2007); Orquestra Popular de Câmara (Orquestra Popular de Câmara, 2004).
Adventure Music on the Web: www.facebook.com/pages/Adventure-Music/
Label: Adventure Music
Release date: August 2012
Reviewed by: Raul da Gama
Adrien Brandeis: Siempre Más Allá
Listening to the music of Siempre Más Allá, it certainly seems that the young French pianist, Adrien Brandeis has strengthened the belief that he is a proverbial citizen of the Afro-Caribbean universe. To be clear Mr Brandeis still loves all music and swings as hard as any pianist who loves Black American Music – that is, music that you can sing and dance to. But also continues to be beguiled by the rolling thunder of Afro-Caribbean music. The wild call of the rhythms and the joie de vivre of the questing melodies and harmonies not only appeal to his ear, but also speak to him in the hidden parts of his heart.
By his own admission Siempre Más Allá took root during three tours to Mexico undertaken under the aegis of the Fédération des Alliances Françaises du Mexique. The virtually all-Afro-Cuban repertoire of the album radiates charm at every turn. These disarmingly natural and eloquent performances bring out the music’s inherent drama and penchant for tumbao with a deft touch while indulging Brandeis’ lyrical instincts to the full. Meticulously balanced, the four quartet pieces, the trio and duo pieces feel as if they are chamber works. Brandeis’ astonishingly insightful playing is musically captivating and technically blemishless. Each phrase rings so completely true that one can’t imagine the music played any other way.
The album features Mr Brandeis and a group of very accomplished musicians. These include the celebrated Cuban percussionist Roberto Vizcaíno Guillot [on two tracks] and his son Roberto Vizcaíno Jr., Mexican drummer José Loria Triay make up the wall of percussion. The Brasilian bassist Giliard Lopes brings his distinctive veritas to the whole rhythm section. The big surprise here is, perhaps, the presence of the great Cuban Horacio “El Negro” Hernández sitting in the drum chair on La buena vibra.
Siempre Más Allá is an affirmation of Brandeis’ enduring love and natural affinity for Latin music. Not surprisingly the music seems to echo the famous Latin American phrase: “¡Que rico bailo yo!” [which, in English, exclaims: “How well I dance!”]. This is no hyperbole as the music – in its pulses and rhythms show as Brandeis traverses the rhythmic topography of the Caribbean and Latin America. Along the way Brandeis plunged into the world of changüí, the chacarera, Brasilian gaucho music and the ancient melodic thunder of bàtá drums.
From the get-go listeners will find themselves immersed in quite another world of rippling percussive grooves. The track Ek Bakam, for instance, conjures the intricate architecture; the line and flow of an epic Mayan civilisation located in the Yucatan. Narratives from the Latin world abound – often paying homage to famous traditional musicians. Pancho’s Power is one such chart inspired by the vivid world of the legendary trio Los Panchos. Brandeis gives his percussion section a lot of space when he puts the spotlight on them on Tierra de Oportunidades – a wistful memory of the pianist’s three tours to Mexico, which is also incidentally the popular provincial slogan of the Mexican state of Guanajuato. On Huachi-Huachi Brandeis digs deep into the epicurean delights of the only Latin country in North America with this song in praise of a kind of gourmet Mexican fish: the huachinango.
Brandeis then celebrates his association with percussion colourist Roberto Vizcaíno Jr. with the extraordinary music of Vizcaíno Blues, a piece unique with its exploratory chromaticisms and elegant sonorities that beautifully capture the eloquence of the percussionist in whose praise the music is written. Mindful of the fact that Vizcaíno is Cuban but makes his home in Mexico, Brandeis shapes the rhythmic and harmonic palette of the piece accordingly. On La Buena Vibra Brandeis delivers astonishing pianistic fireworks in the piece’s melodic and harmonic lines, played at a frenetic pace, to mirror the style of its dedicatee, Michel Camilo. The pianist demonstrates an authentic home-grown grasp of Cuban music as he reimages Voy a Apagar la Luz, by the legendary and late-singer Armando Manzanero, here adapted as a wistful solo piano work. Meanwhile on the dizzying ride of Humpty Dumpty the pianist pays homage to another idol: Chick Corea, by revisiting the sparkling composition of the recently-deceased piano maestro.
It is hard not to be mesmerised by this spirited and finely nuanced music artfully crafted in an album by Adrien Brandeis, a pianist who is about to take the world by storm with a recording that is going to be one of the finest by any musician located outside the Latin American sub-continent.
Tracks – 1: Huachi Huachi; 2: Alegría; 3: Pancho’s Power; 4: Ek balam; 5: Un peu d’espoir; 6: Vizcaíno’s Blues; 7: Tierra de oportunidades; 8: Humpty Dumpty; 9: La buena vibra; 10: Voy a apagar la luz
Musicians – Adrien Brandeis: piano; Giliard Lopes: contrabass; José Loria Triay: drums; Roberto Vizcaíno Jr: congas and bàtá drums. Featuring – Roberto Vizcaíno Guillot: percussion [1, 6]; Horacio “El Negro” Hernández: drums 
Released – 2022
Label – Mantodea Music Productions
Runtime – 58:25
YouTube Video – Adrien Brandeis – Siempre más allá (EPK)
YouTube Audio – Adrien Brandeis – Vizcaíno’s Blues
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Adrien Brandeis: Siempre Más Allá
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