Sea & Sand: Music of Brazil in Review

Jovino Santos Neto – Alma do Nordeste (Adventure Music, 2008)
 
 Jorge Albuquerque, Marcos Amorim & Rafael Barata – Revolving Landscapes (Adventure Music, 2008)
 
 For his third release on Adventure Music, Brazilian jazz pianist and composer Jovino Santos Neto celebrates the music of Northeastern Brazil–and what a wealth of musical styles! "Alma do Nordeste (Soul of the Northeast)," features a variety of Brazilian genres including, Baião, xote, Forrò, marcha and others. Lush Afro-Brazilian polyrhythms provide a backdrop for swirling flute, woodwinds, lush accordion and gorgeous instrumental harmonies.
 
 From the cover art to the passionate musicianship of Jovino (piano, melodica, flute), Toninho Ferragutti (accordion), Gabriel Grossi (harmonica), Carlos Malta, Eduardo Neves and Marcelo Martins (woodwinds), Joseman Honaine (10 string guitar), Dudu Lima (basses), Marcio Bahia (drums), Tiago da Serrinha and Durval Pereira (percussion) and Pernambuco (voice)–whew!, this music feels like the sun bursting forth through layers of clouds. Especially on the title track, when the music breaks into a frenzy guided by Pernambuco’s passionate vocals.It is a real challenge to focus on any one of the thirteen tracks since they are all splendid well-researched compositions. As always, Jovino has brought a great deal of sensitivity and enchantment to his compositions and performance. The band he recorded with in Rio appears tight and the musicians play well off each other. The opening track, "Festa na Macuca" immediately captivates and Ferragutti’s accordion grabs the spotlight.

Alma do Nordeste certainly is one of those album that takes a few listens to review because of its rich musical textures and layers. The musicians solo throughout and I can imagine that a live performance by this band would both excite and wear out the audience who would be applauding no doubt at every twist and turn. This album combines excitement, beauty, passion with gorgeous melodies. Jovino’s hard work has paid off yet again.

Also from Brazil, Jorge Albuquerque (bass), Marcos Amorim (guitar) and Rafael Barata (drums), bring us a sedate Brazilian jazz and bossa nova on "Revolving Landscapes." Masterful guitar, blends with creative drumming (cymbals suggests waves on a beach), and watertight bass. The trio creates an effervescent jazz-scape and with song titles such as "Waterfall," "Cloudy Day" and "New Landscape" you might guess that this is a somewhat relaxing recording.

Similar to Brazilian guitarist Celso Fonseca, Amorim’s guitar playing possesses sensual qualities and the tracks "New Landscape" recall Fonseca’s songs. I am also reminded of American jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and any number of ECM ambient jazz albums.

However, while ECM’s repertoire has a moody European feel to it,  Revolving Landscapes reflects a sunny Brazilian signature. Often times, the playing feels understated, until you listen beneath the top layers. Barata’s brings spot-on intuition to "Afternoon in Hanvoy" and I can see why Amorim praises the drummer in his liner notes. This worthwhile album came to me by surprise and listening to it has been delightful.

Patricia Herlevi hosts the healing music blog, The Whole Music Experience and the community radio show, "Global Heartthrob Radio" (KSVR-Mount Vernon). Her radio show can be heard every Tuesday, 2 to 4 p.m. & 8 to 10 p.m. PST at ksvr.org

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Author: PatriciaHerlevi

Patricia Herlevi is a former music journalist turned music researcher. She is especially interested in raising music consciousness. She is looking for an agent and publisher for her book Whole Music (Soul Food for the Mind Body Spirit). She founded and hosts the blog
The Whole Music Experience and has contributed to World Music Central since 2003.

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