Editor’s Pick · Album of the Month ·
For the legions of Brasilian – and international – fans who think back nostalgically to Antonio Carlos Jobim and his music, and marvel at the enormous pleasures that they continue to enjoy, here is evidence that such musical magic exists today. Not surprisingly this comes from the pen of Mario Adnet, whose re-imaginings of Jobim’s repertoire extend to four albums to date. Jobim Jazz – Aõ Vivo is the most recent of the series. Mario Adnet pays much more than just reverent attention to Jobim’s extraordinary music, which not only introduced his genius to the world, but also put Brasilian music on the world stage.
That several living Brasilian composers – Adnet (whose brilliant arranger’s pan is all over this record) included – write music that is similarly attentive to the intimate, hidden treasures implicit in composing music today is a testament to Jobim’s eternal relevance. Beyond the physical beauties, Jobim’s music and poetry together make every Brasilian musical journey an artful, utterly memorable odyssey for anyone who loves any– not simply Brasilian – music. For it is through Jobim, the world has come to visualise what it means to be a ‘Girl from Ipanema’, indeed a ‘Carioca’. Mario Adnet is similarly dutiful to the aural paintings that are drenched in the vibrations and the moods and emotions; indeed to the indomitable will and spirit of Antonio Carlos Jobim.
The CD – and, more so, its accompanying DVD – creates the environment in which the shapes, rhythms, colours and tones that inform Jobim’s work become the compelling context for the big-band spinning out of the melodic lines of this music. The overall experience of this recital, beyond its purely musical impact, draws inspiration from the process that Jobim followed for the making of his poetry and music: that is the creation of characters with their own back-story and emotional relationship not only towards other characters in his narrative, but to even incidental characters in the urban Brasilian landscape. All this is beautifully delivered in unique instrumental and, on ‘Por causa de voce’ and ‘Estrada do sol’, in vocal lines by the legendary Nana Caymmi.
The hour-plus-long musical sojourn reveals the full scope of Mario Adnet’s attention to small details and feeling for large-scale momentum. Jobim’s penchant for expressing nuanced changes in mood and emotion are captured with long-lined sweep and energy. Every Jobim musical moment is suffused with delicate or dramatic propulsion, reflecting the master’s eye for Wordsworthian imagery in all its finest detail. Such research is so completely imbued by Adnet’s arrangements that it is only a matter of time before the expertly directed ensemble plays these works with mesmerising command, bringing to life Jobim’s shimmering soundscapes with the tonal colours of Mario Adnet’s finely graded dynamic palette.
Mario Adnet – Jobim Jazz – Aõ Vivo is a 2016 Latin Grammy Awards Nominee in the Best Latin Jazz Album Category
Track List: Takatanga; Mojave; Sue Ann; Surfboard; O boto; Rancho nas nuvens; So danco samba; Wave; Tema jazz; Bonita; Paulo voo livre; Por causa de voce (part: Nana Caymmi); Estrada do sol (part: Nana Caymmi); Polo pony.
Personnel: Aquiles Moraes: trumpet, flugelhorn; Jesse Sadoc: trumpet, flugelhorn; Andrea Ernest Dias: flute, alto flute; Zé Canuto: alto saxophone; Marcelo Martins: tenor saxophone; Henrique Band: baritone saxophone; Everson Moraes: trombone; Vittor Santos: trombone; Joana Adnet: clarinet; Mario Adnet: acoustic guitar, arrangements, production; Antonia Adnet: acoustic guitar; Ricardo Silveira: electric guitar; Marcos Nimrichter: accordion, piano; Jorge Helder: acoustic bass; Jurim Moreira: drums; Rafael Barata: drums; Armando Marçal: percussion; Antonia Adnet: producer; Joana Adnet: producer; Duda Mello: engineer.
Record Label: Biscoito Fino
Year Released: August 2015
Running time: 64:18
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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