Santos Neto’s Northeastern Soul

Jovino Santos Neto

Alma do Nordeste (Adventure Music, 2008)

Pianist and flautist Jovino Santos Neto explores the Nordestino folk sounds of northeastern Brazil form a jazz perspective. He is joined by an impressive cast of Brazilian jazz and folk musicians, including accordionist Toninho Ferragutti and one of the finest bassists in Brazil, Dudu Lima.

Although born in Rio de Janeiro, Santos Neto’s grandparents came from northeastern Brazil and he discovered the rich folk tradition of his ancestors through a fellow Brazilian musician. "It was my 15-year apprenticeship with Hermeto Pascoal, the master from Alagoas, that gave me abroad and practical knowledge of Brazil’s regional music styles and their application in a modern and universal context."

Now based in the United States, Santos Neto received a grant from Brazilian company Petrobras to research the music of the northeast. For two weeks, he and his wife drove more than 1400 kilometers (800 miles) from the coast to the interior and back again. "We visited several cities in the states of Alagoas, Pernambuco and Paraiba, getting to know unforgettable places and wonderful people. The trip confirmed what I already knew intuitively, which was that the natural and musical culture of the Nordeste could be a never-ending source of inspiration for a composer." Part of that research is now evident in his new CD, titled Alma do Nordeste.

Alma do Nordeste is at its best when the folk influences take the spotlight, in the form of percussion, accordion and guitars. As a jazz album, skilled improvisation and straight ahead jazz are present. And there are even lounge music moments for those who appreciate the genre.

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