Brazilian born pianist/composer Antonio Adolfo has been one of his country’s most prolific and influential artists and performers since 1963, when he joined Samba Cinco, which played in the famous Beco das Garrafas in Rio. A witness and participant to his native land’s grand and globally influential musical history, he follows Samba Jazz Alley, a tribute to the spirit of early bossa nova, with the similarly illuminating, divinely melodic and exotically grooving BruMa: Celebrating Milton Nascimento.
Narrowed down from a list of 30 potential songs to nine sweeping gems of varying moods and tempos, Adolfo’s thoughtful re-imaginings with his longtime nine-piece ensemble pay more personal, intimate homage to the lush melodies, transcendent harmonies and swinging percussive energy to an old friend, musical colleague and one of his most important influences.
Fifty two years after Adolfo and his trio 3-D first joined Nascimento when they recorded with singer-songwriter Marcos Valle (followed by a two month tour together), Adolfo swings mightily into action with the quadrila (Northeastern Brazil) vibe of “Fe Cega Faca Amolada,” a high octane showcase for tenor saxman Marcelo Martins and drummer Rafael Barata.
The contrast created following that piece with the lush, brassy and lyrical “Nada Sera Como Antes” sets the ever-changing emotional dynamic of the set, where a gently swaying, balmy reflections like “Outubro (October)” and “Tristesse” offer a delicate balance for punchier, exuberant bursts of emotion like “Cancao Do Sal (Salt Song)” and “Tres Pontas.” Beyond shining a spotlight on the decades-long musical kinship of Adolfo and Nascimento, there is a unique social consciousness at work.
The title BruMa is a portmanteau referring to Brumadinho and Mariana, cities in the state of Minas Geraise that suffered two environmental disasters in the last decade. More than simply a look back at glories from Brazil’s musical past, Adolfo is a cultural visionary who uses the music of BruMa as a tool to focus attention of creating a bright future beyond these darker moments.