Baden Powell was a sublime artist, who took his instrument well beyond the possibilities of the guitar. He played with complete command of every idiom in classical music and Afro-Brasilian music – whether it was folk or popular music. He was associated with the legendary Moacir Santos as a student of advanced harmony. Santos also taught him Greek modes, but must surely above all else, opened his mind to further loving the music and poetry of the earth, and expressing himself without restraint, even if it meant colliding with multiple sources of cultural stimulii. There is a track on this record – “Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday)” that speaks to this aspect of Baden Powell’s music. It is a piece through which the soul of God flows, bringing with it the music of Heitor Villa Lobos, Redamés Gnattali, not to mention primal fervor and transcendent spirituality in the warmth and reverence of the song. Moreover, in less than 4 minutes of music Baden Powell is elevated to beatification as he praises the scantity of Palm Sunday.
Mario Adnet may now have much to do with this elevation to beatification. Nothing must be, nor is anything being taken away from the sublime nature of the original music composed by Baden Powell. However, Adnet has recreated the soundscape with memorable shape shifting. To begin at the beginning, Adnet is a musician of unbridled genius. As he composed and arranged for larger groups his palette came to be one from which he was able to extract a myriad shades of tonal color and timbral textures. His use of reeds and woodwinds and brass has the hallmark of a master–one with an ear so astute that he can – with but the insertion of a note on alto flute – alter the mood of a piece from bright to sombre. He arranges great leaps of a whole orchestra from a minor mode of a chord sequence to a major mode in another chord sequence and brings celebratory resolution to a lament. His work on Baden Powell’s “Lamento de Exú” bears this testimony out.
Adnet writes, arranges and conducts from a proverbial majesterium. He knows when to employ Teco Cardoso’s baritone saxophone and how forcefully it should be played just for “Canto de Ossanha,” but then how softly and sad it should sound on “Lamento de Preto Velho.” His clarinets and bass clarinets; his saxophones and flutes and trumpets and flugelhorns are so perfectly scored that it appears he knows just the right amount of breath that Eduardo Neves may require to use for a particular phrase, or how Jesse Sadoc manipulates his embouchure, or when Cristiano Alves will employ a breaking glissando. He writes a cello part to be mournful on “Nhem Nhem Nhem,” authoritative on “Sermão” and jubiliant on “Domingo de Ramos.”
That is how Mario Adnet has transformed the music of Baden Powell. Now with the assistance of the maestro’s son, Phillippe Baden Powell as well. The younger Baden Powell embodies the spirit of his father and has that same dynamic touch for interpreting the tonal values of all sound when he sits down to play the piano. He has also learned well how to score for larger ensembles and his apprenticeship on this unforgettable record would no doubt complete his tutelage under the majesterial Adnet, who, it seems, was chosen as teacher to the young boy in much the same way that the elder Baden Powell was akin to Moacir Santos.
Santos’ ghost is all over this music here. Because not only Baden Powell and Santos were kindred spirits after all, but because Mario Adnet knew that, the umbilical connection had to be kept sacred. Employing the full riches of his ensemble – especially drummer Jurim Moreira, percussion colorist, Armando Marçal and bassist, Jorge Helder – Adnet has also revitalized Baden Powell’s penchant for synthesizing Afro-Brasilian forms such as candomble, umbanda and capoeira with the urban samba of Rio de Janeiro. “Canto de Yemanjá” and “Yansan Suite” are sublime examples of this synthesis.
There may be many more tributes to the Brasilian icon, Baden Powell and some may already be in the can, so to speak. It will be a tall order for anyone following in the wake of this one by Mario Adnet and Phillippe Baden Powell to make one with as much reverence and love and affinity for the maestro who passed away almost nine years ago.
Tracks: 1. Canto de Xangô (Song for Xangô); 2. Ritmo Afro (Afro Rhythm); 3. Caxangá de Oxalá (Oxalá’s Game); 4. Nhem Nhem Nhem; 5. Lamento de Exú (Lament for Exú); 6. Canto de Ossanha (Song for Ossanha); 7. Lamento de Preto Velho (Lament for an Old Man); 8. Sermão (Sermon); 9. Canto de Yemanjá (Song for Yemanjá); 10. Pai (Father); 11. Alodé (Mermaid’s Lament); 12. Berimbau; 13. Yansan Suite; 14. Domingo de Ramos (Palm Sunday).
Personnel: Mario Adnet: guitar (1-3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13); Antonia Adnet: seven-string guitar (4); Marcel Powell: guitar (14); Marcos Nimrichter: piano (1-3, 67, 9, 10, 13), accordion (7, 9, 14); Phillippe Baden Powell: piano (4, 5, 8, 11, 12); Jorge Helder: bass; Jurim Moreira: drums (1-13); Armando Marçal: percussion (1-13); Ricardo Silveira: electric guitar (1, 2, 5, 11); Cristiano Alves: clarinet 3, 4, 7, 8, 14), bass clarinet (4, 5, 8, 14); Joana Adnet: clarinet (5); Henrique Band: alto saxophone (1, 5, 6, 10); Eduardo Neves: tenor saxophone (1, 2, 5, 6, 9, 11-13), flute (3, 7, 14); Teco Cardoso: baritone saxophone (1, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13), alto flute (9); Andrea Ernest Dias: alto flute (2, 7, 14), flute (8); Jessé Sadoc: trumpet (1, 6, 10), flugelhorn (2); Aquiles Moraes: trumpet (5); Everson Moraes: trombone (1 -6, 8); Vittor Santos: trombone (2, 9, 13); Philip Doyle: French Horn (1, 6, 9, 10); Hugo Pilger: cello (3, 4, 8, 14); Mônica Salmaso: vocal (9), vocal for Litany (13); Carlos Negreiros (7); Maucha Adnet : vocal song (13); Joana Adnet, Mario Adnet, Antonia Adnet, Phillippe Baden Powell, Janaina Linhares: hand clapping (3).
Rique Pantoja: Live in Los Angeles
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, 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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