That Antonio Adolfo should be paying homage to the Jazz side of his music should come as no surprise. Like that great Cuban piano master Frank Emilio Flynn, Adolfo’s pianism shows a strong Jazz influence. But more than the fact that he has imbibed the cadence of Jazz it is these arrangements that are so special on Tropical Infinito. They tell of the uniqueness of Adolfo’s genius, which is his ability to tell stories as if he has written them. Few pianists could pounce on these pieces with such joyful momentum. Try Benny Golson’s ‘Killer Joe’ for size. No less intensity marks both meditative lyricism and the agitated outbursts of Horace Silver’s ‘Song for My Father’. Adolfo’s one-beat-to-the-bar treatment of All The Things You Are’ take wing, abetted by clear dynamic and well-shaped imitative writing.
Antonio Adolfo is a prodigiously talented pianist and one of Brasil’s great pedagogues. These are important factors in his life as a musician. It has kept his music fresh and energetic; yet at the same time there is erudition to his pianism that enables him to imbue his music with a profundity that often escapes musicians younger than him. His superb articulation (in Oliver Nelson’s ‘Stolen Moments’ of the central ‘andante’s detached chords and cross-rhythmic accentuation underlines his version of the chart to some of the finest ever played. In fact, throughout the CD he delights with a feast of fine playing excellently recorded (by Roger Freret) and his focus on the music never wavers.
I’ve long had a soft spot for Antonio Adolfo’s playing. Every record he makes sets a new benchmark on the last recording. It is not just the nobility and imperiousness of his playing, or of these works, or the different narrative tones he is able to bring to each of the songs in question. But he has the phrasing of a great singer captured in moments of incredible emotion. Listen to ‘Whisper Not’ and you’ll see what I mean. It is a rare intégrale in which every work is as technically successful and musically convincing as all its companions. But this is certainly the record when Antonio Adolfo proves that to be true. Moreover all of these tunes evoke a glorious world of Jazz at its most compelling. For that we must praise Antonio Adolfo and his terrific ensemble for an extraordinary performance.
Track List: Killer Joe; Whisper Not; Cascavel; Yolanda, Yolanda; Stolen Moments; Song for My Father; Partido Leve; All The Things You Are; Luar Da Bahia.
Personnel: Antonio Adolfo: piano and arrangements; Jessé Sadoc: trumpet and flugelhorn (4, 7, 8, 9); Marcelo Martins: tenor saxophone and soprano saxophone (4, 9); Serginho Trombone: trombone; Leo Amuedo: electric guitar; Jorge Helder: double bass; Rafael Barata: drums, percussion; André Siqueira: percussion. Special Guest: Claudio Spiewak: acoustic guitar (1, 3, 8).