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Antonio Adolfo pays tribute to Jobim

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    Posted: 21 Aug 2021 at 5:11pm
COMING JULY 31, 2021 on AAM Music

Antonio Carlos Jobim has been one of the brightest, most influential stars in the jazz firmament since his ground-breaking 1964 album Getz/Gilberto won multiple Grammy Awards and introduced Bossa Nova to a wide audience, not only in the USA but internationally as well. His music has been enjoyed by millions of people around the world and recorded countless times by musicians across many different genres. Anyone who has ever gone to a jazz concert or sat in a bar or walked through a hotel lobby has undoubtedly heard “The Girl from Ipanema” or “How Insensitive.” His songs are so ubiquitous that it is very difficult to find a fresh approach to his music. It takes an artist of the caliber of ANTONIO ADOLFO to layer Jobim’s music with a new sensibility and truly transform it into a personal statement. On JOBIM FOREVER, Adolfo imbues nine of Jobim’s iconic tunes from the 1960s with his own, unique artistry.
Adolfo is a pianist, arranger, composer, and band leader. He has recorded over two dozen albums as a leader in the U.S. and Brazil including a few with his daughter, vocalist Carol Saboya. He has been nominated for several Latin Jazz Grammy Awards, including Rio, Choro, Jazz (2014), his solo outing O Piano de Antonio Adolfo (also 2014), Tema (2015), which featured all original music, Tropical Infinito (2016), and Hybrido – From Rio to Wayne Shorter, which was nominated for a Latin Grammy in 2017 and a Grammy in 2018. More than 200 of his original compositions have been recorded by major artists like Sergio Mendes, Earl Klugh, Herb Alpert, Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick, and many others.
Adolfo first heard Jobim in 1959 on a car radio. The song was “A Felicidade,” written by Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes. Adolfo was immediately smitten by the sound of this new music, Bossa Nova, and it became a foundational element for his musical maturation. He became a professional jazz musician when he was just 17 years old, leading his own trio and touring with singers like Leny Andrade, Carlos Lyra, Flora Purim, Wilson Simonal, Elis Regina, and Milton Nascimento, whose music he commemorated with his 2020 release, BruMa – Celebrating Milton Nascimento, which charted at #1 on the national JazzWeek chart for several weeks. All About Jazz said of BruMa, “This album is so inviting and the performances so seductive that the entire album screams to be devoured in one luscious conceptual bite.”
The players on JOBIM FOREVER are some of the top musicians in Brazil. Most of them also appeared on BruMa, including JESSE SADOC (trumpet & flugelhorn), MARCELO MARTINS (flutes & saxes), DANILO SINNA (alto sax), RAFAEL ROCHA (trombone), LULA GALVAO (guitars), JORGE HELDER (bass), RAFAEL BARATA (drums) and DADA COSTA (percussion). The album also features guest artists PAULO BRAGA (drums), who played with Jobim for several years until his passing in 1994, and the great Brazilian vocalist ZÉ RENATO on one tune.
 Adolfo had met Jobim several times over the years and describes him as “captivating, witty, and knowledgeable.” Jobim’s children and grandson Daniel actually studied at Adolfo’s school in Rio de Janeiro, located just two blocks from the famous Ipanema beach.
Adolfo chose Jobim’s songs from the 1960s because he wanted to celebrate a great era of music, when Jobim’s innovations helped make Rio de Janeiro an important capital of world culture. But performing music that is so recognizable can be fraught with pitfalls, and Adolfo wanted to avoid anything that sounded cliché.
Adolfo explains his process, “When I create arrangements for my albums, I play the music literally dozens of times on the piano until I start to feel a kind of partnership with the composer. After I thoroughly absorb the music, I can start hearing my own voice emerge, and I then can create the different harmonies, meters, phrasing, and forms that I adapt to the instruments in my concept.”
Indeed, the songs on JOBIM FOREVER are instantly recognizable, but Adolfo took these well-known songs and truly made them his own. Every song is reharmonized brilliantly along with melodic improvisations and imaginative changes of meter and phrasing that are trademarks of Adolfo’s art.
The album opens with Jobim’s biggest hit, “The Girl from Ipanema.” The band establishes the Bossa rhythm in the intro, but the song also has a swing feel throughout. The arrangement for “Wave” was somewhat inspired by the ones Adolfo had written for Brazilian singers Elis Regina and Carol Saboya. The tune features a tasty trombone solo by Rocha. Vocalist Ze Renato establishes the motif of ”A Felicidade,” written for the 1956 French film Black Orpheus.
“How Insensitive” is a slow Bossa. The melody is established by the piano but moves almost immediately to a solo on the flugelhorn, followed by solos on the flute and piano. Adolfo creates a fascinating soundscape by shifting the key centers for each the different solos. “Favela” is a Bossa lament reharmonized in a minor Blues style. The tune features straight-ahead solos on the trumpet and alto sax. “Inutil Paisagem,” known in the U.S. as "If You Never Come to Me," is a haunting song featuring trombone, tenor sax, and piano solos.
“Agua de Beber” has a driving, Bossa rhythm with extended measures in the bridge that highlight Adolfo’s re-imagined chords. “Amparo,” originally written for the movie The Adventures, opens with the chords from another Jobim tune, “Por Toda a Minha Vida” performed by the piano and bass played with bow. Adolfo arranged it using Guarania style, which is known for its sonorous sounds and melancholic rhythms. “Estrada do Sol” is a jazz waltz that features airy, sinuous solos on the flute, acoustic guitar, and piano.
The work of two modern Brazilian masters is on display on JOBIM FOREVER. Adolfo’s modern jazz sensibilities, cultural heritage, and elegant and beguiling aesthetics are the perfect ingredients for creating a new paradigm for Jobim’s well-travelled music.
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JOBIM FOREVER is available July 31, 2021 at www.antonioadolfomusic.com and online everywhere.

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