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Brasilian Report

Jovino Santos Neto – Veja o Som/See the Sound (Adventure Music)

There comes a time in the life of a pianist, when the lure of a solo project is strong and he or she inevitably gives in. Having thus satisfied the yearning the musician is struck by an even more daunting task: the thought of a duo program, made even more alluring when there is an opportunity to duet with more than one musician and instrumentalist. Such an extravagance is rarely passed up so it is no surprise to find the wonderful world of pianist Jovino […]



There comes a time in the life of a pianist, when the lure of a solo project is strong and he or she inevitably gives in. Having thus satisfied the yearning the musician is struck by an even more daunting task: the thought of a duo program, made even more alluring when there is an opportunity to duet with more than one musician and instrumentalist. Such an extravagance is rarely passed up so it is no surprise to find the wonderful world of pianist Jovino Santos Neto illuminated and festooned with duets with no less than twenty musicians as he makes this extraordinary album, Veja o Som (See the Sound), so named when the remarkable Airto Moreira let it slip after the spectacular duet take made it to the album. To be accorded the privilege of playing with practically anyone he wished to play with is rare indeed for any musician and says a lot about his or her relationship with the record label. And Adventure Music once again lived up to its name as well, by going the distance with Santos Neto this time. So what did the pianist do with this privilege?

First off, the program meanders into a maze of great music, with surprises at every turn. It is almost as if Santos Neto hopped onto a futuristic craft and began his journey through ether, suddenly encountering music and musicians with whom to play it. The surprises are breathtaking and the fact that it took two CDs to realize the dream is indicative of the fact that Jovino Santos Neto chose to choke the listening audience with gold in a bejewelled ornament of a double CD. The second remarkable aspect of the program is the outstanding playing of Santos Neto. His ability to switch from soloist to a supportive role is remarkable. That he is a fine soloist is beyond doubt. His palette is awash with the soft hues of many colors. He plays with great sensitivity, with phrases and lines that flow in whorls and ever widening circles. His approach to song is holistic, seemingly one that emerges from a beguiling place where he hears all music in the totality of the soundscape where it exists as if in an entirely fluid state.

Some of these turn the melodies inside out—Jobim’s “Insensatez,” a duet with the ethereal voice of Gretchen Parlato is one such. He can be puckish and play also with a wry, bouncy sense of humour: The breezy track, “Santa Morena,” played with mandolin wizard, Mike Marshall and Hermeto Pascoal’s spectacular; “February 1” with Anat Cohen is another. Frequently he reinvent melodies by diving in to a magical space and emerging with ideas that seemed impossible until now: Two fine examples of this are “Aquelas Coisas Todas,” with the deep brooding and yet sensuous tenor saxophone of David Sanchez and Moacir Santos’ classic, “April Child,” which is bravely and completely re-imagined with the impossibly brilliant sound of Vittor Santos’ trombone. But the most remarkable tracks of all are those that appear to be almost completely spontaneous inventions. “Veja o Som” with Airto Moreira’s remarkable volley of sounds of nature, including his primordial voice, the haunting “Sonora Garoa” with the magnificent voice of M&#244nica Salmaso and the ethereally beautiful “Cruzando o Sert&#227o” with the percussionist, Luiz Guello are the crowning glory of the whole project.

Surely this must be one of Jovino Santos Neto’s most remarkable albums. It certainly is a wonderful follow-up to that spectacular piano duet album he did with Weber Iago for the same label, Live at Caramoor, where his pianism was just as spectacular. Here, however, Santos Neto is driven to invent with a remarkable array of musicians, especially voice artists, something Brasil has a surfeit of. Whatever will the pianist be up to next? Perhaps an album with the great Hermeto Pascoal, with whom Santos Neto spent time as Director of Music, would be the only thing that could cap this experience.

Tracks: CD1: Aquelas Coisas Todas (All of Those Things); Santa Morena (Dark-skinned Saint); Insensatez (How Insensitive); O Que Vier Eu Tra&#231o (Bring it On); Caminhos Cruzados (Crossed Paths); Veja o Som (See the Sound); Flor de Lis (Upside Down); February 1; Gloria; Nature Boy; CD2: Ahlê Sonora Garoa (Sonorous Drizzle); Morro Velho (Old Mountain); Cruzando o Sert&#227o (Crossing the Hinterland); Feira de Mangaio (Street Bazaar); Can&#231&#227o do Amanhecer (The Dawn Song); April Child; Joana Francesa (Joana the Frenchwoman); Canto de Xang&#244 (Xang&#244 Chant); Alegre Menina (Gabriela’s Song).

Personnel: Jovino Santos Neto: piano, bamboo flute, flute, melodica; David Sanchez: tenor saxophone; Mike Marshall: mandocello, mandolin; Gretchen Parlato: voice; Paquito D’Rivera: C clarinet; Bill Frisell: electric guitar; Airto Moreira: voice, percussion; Tom Lellis: voice, shaker; Anat Cohen: soprano saxophone; Danilo Brito: mandolin; Joe Locke: vibraphone; Jo&#227o Donato: electric piano; M&#244nica Salmaso: voice; Ricardo Silveira: acoustic guitar; Luiz Guello: Pandeiro, effects, congas, djembe; Toninho Ferragutti: accordion; Joyce Moreno: voice; Vittor Santos: trombone; Paula Morelenbaum: voice; Gabriel Grossi: harmonica; Teco Cardoso: flutes.

[audio: Santos Neto – Aquelas Coisas Todas.mp3|titles=Aquelas Coisas Todas – From the CD “Veja o Som/See the Sound”]

Jovino Santos Neto on the web:

Review written by: Raul da Gama

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Brasilian Report

Rique Pantoja: Live in Los Angeles



Rique Pantoja

The West Coast of the United States has had a rather long – and celebrated – association with the music of Brasil. Rique Pantoja is tapping into the Brasilliance on his Live in Los Angeles album. Moacir Santos created by far the greatest series music when he moved to Pasadena, California from Brasil in 1967. He quickly began turning heads with his spectacular take on the lineage of the [post bebop] cool, melding it with the music of his home-state, Pernambuco, in his very singular mix of other dance forms from Brasil. Other influential Brasilian musicians whose artistry collided with West Coast Cool were Cesar Camargo Mariano, Airto and Flora Purim [when she was there once upon a time] to name a few Brasilians who influenced the North American West Coast sound.

Rique Pantoja: Live in Los Angeles
Rique Pantoja: Live in Los Angeles

Rique Pantoja, by virtue of his extraordinary musicianship, his long-limbed compositions that seem to roll along with their exquisite, naturally danceable rhythms, can also lay claim to this august line of musicians. His music, captured on this beautifully-recorded album seems to express the sheer joy – the alegria – of being alive and in love. The composer [and pianist] seems to indulge fully his predisposition for dreamscapes as he is on stage, allowing the lyrical saxophonist [and flutist] Steve Tavaglione to stretch and take extraordinary melodic and harmonic excursions with winding, lyrical lines of his own seemingly intoxicated by the enraptured emotions ensconced in the music.

The pianist’s poetic fantasies – such as we listen to on “Da Baiana” – evoke images of voluptuous eloquence in the form of a sultry, baiana, rhythmically hip-swishing her way down along fine white sand of the Coconut Coast in Bahia. With rippling keyboard grooves, Mr Pantoja conjures vivid, lifelike imagery of surf beating around us, while Mr Tavaglione’s flute, with cascading lines from the guitar of Ricardo Silveira wail and moan and whistle melodically. Meanwhile the percussionist – Cassio Duarte – and drummer Joel Taylor – re-create the sizzle and steamy seduction of baiana’s rolling rhythm along with the deep rumble of the bass played with extraordinary facility by Jimmy Earl.

“Arpoador” is one of the finest songs on the album that had already mesmerised the audience with its tintinnabulation of the keyboards introducing the opening strains of Mr Pantoja’s magical and mystical song. Even under the Brasilliance of “1000 Watts” the audience seems to be under the hypnotic spell of the music from then on… a spell that is only broken when Rique Pantoja and this marvelous ensemble gently awaken them with the balladic – and balletic – aural dreamscape of “Pra Lili”, to close a beautiful set that offers an astonishing insight into Mr Pantoja’s artistic conception.

Tracks – 1: Arpoador; 2: Julinho; 3: 1000 Watts; 4: Da Baiana; 5: Bebop Kid; 6: Que Loucura; 7: Morena; 8: Pra Lili

Musicians – Ricardo Silveira: guitar; Steve Tavaglione: saxophones and flute; Rique Pantoja: keyboards and vocals; Jimmy Earl: bass; Joel Taylor: drums; Cassio Duarte: percussion

Released – 2022
Label – Moondo Music [MDO-2022
Runtime – 1:08:13

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