When it comes to the bossa nova style of music there is no doubt that Antonio Carlos Jobim was one of the most influential and important performers. Over the years I have reviewed a few different musicians providing their own take on some of that material, and here we have pianist Antonio Adolfo adding his own interpretations to the mix. I have reviewed some of his earlier releases, so I knew this was going to be an interesting release, and that is exactly what we have. He has utilised some of the top musicians in Brazil, many of whom have played with him on other albums, 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 song (the album is mostly instrumental).
Of course it starts with the number everyone knows, “The Girl from Ipanema”, and soon we are into Brazilian music and the Latin swing that entails. Adolfo has a very fluid style but is very much an arranger and band leader so understand when it is time to take more of a back seat so that someone else can take the solo. This makes for a balanced release which is full of passion, yet there is also restraint as everyone wants to ensure they pay tribute to the master without putting too much of their own spin on things. The use of flute on “How Insensitive” is particularly poignant, as its delicacy allows the music to become something quite different – still jazz, but now more reflective and fragile. Relaxing yet dynamic, this is a worthy addition to the albums which pay tribute to Jobim, and one I have really enjoyed playing.
8/10 Kev Rowland