Half Notes: Jorge Albuquerque, Marcos Amorim, Rafael Barata – Revolving Landscapes (2008)

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by S. Victor Aaron

The thing that amazes me when exploring Brazilian music is that while there are usually a lot characteristics you can find in most music out of that country, overall the music is much more diverse than the Brazilians get credit for here in America. That really became especially apparent when absorbing the Northeast Brazilian sounds of Jovino Santos Neto’s Alma do Nordeste. The lesson I’m learning this time is how well the trio format can work in Brazilian jazz. Charlie Byrd popularized this format nearly five decades ago, but acclaimed Brazilian guitarist Marcos Amorim has brought it into the 21st century without compromising any of the original feel. Accompanied by drummer/percussionist Rafeal Barata and bassist Jorge Albuquerque, Amorim run through a set of ten tunes that are breezy while often sounding very somber. That probably comes from some classical influences making its way into some of the cuts. Most of the songs, composed by either Amorim or Albuquerque, are mellow but memorable. Amorim shows off Metheny-esque chops on songs like “New Landscape,” “Cloudy Day” and the plainly labeled “Salsa.” “Sea Party” sports a pretty melody that Sergio Mendes once dependably produced. “Afternoon In Hanoy” has a wonderfully constructed theme. But even where the compositions are as strong as these, the close communication amongst the three get them through. This CD was released in the USA on May 20, 2008 by Adventure Music. For superb trio work with authentic Brazilian music that doesn’t need to pound it’s ample technique into your skull, Revolving Landscapes is a good choice.

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