"Nice!" - One of the trendy buzz words that may have a diminishing shelf life in a few months. I am happy to say if used as a one word review then it would be the classic undersell as the new release Milagre should have a shelf life will be measured in years and an instant classic where one word just will not cut it. On March 12, 2013 one of the most soulful and heartfelt vocalists in Maucha Adnet teams up with one of the most in demand contemporary jazz pianists to take the buzz word "riff" to a totally new dimension.
Brazilian music is in my wheelhouse but not being fluent in Portuguese, I sometimes move past some vocalists deserving some critical love and Adnet certainly fills the bill. While Alves has a resume that includes Joe Henderson, Gato Barbieri, and Airto Moreira, his work on the 2012 Motema release from the Brazilian Trio is still in my heavy rotation. Adnet is no stranger to teaming up with artists that posses mad skills as she worked with the Brazilian icon Antonio Carlos Jobim for a decade and such luminaries as Clauio Roditi, Duduke Da Fonseca, and Randy Brecker. Both artists are right from my particular cultural wheelhouse so a release that pays tribute to Brazilian masters past and present grabbed my immediate attention. Featured tunes include work from Dori Caymmi, Hemeto Pascoal and of course the great Jobim.
Both Adnet and Alves crush this release for a myriad of reasons which include bringing their own artistic voice to the party without losing the authenticity and rhythmic flair of some of the finest Brazilian jazz known. Another key element in the success of the presentation is that you need not be fluent in Portuguese to appreciate this work. Giving to meaning to music as a universal language and despite the format of the piano/vocalist duo there are really two solo albums that harmonious link together as one voice. Less is indeed more as Adnet and Alves deconstruct the included work to a more intimate portrait of interpretation on music that is still packing a powerful punch in the more contemporary western jazz forms here in the United State.
"O Cantador" is a powerfully moving emotional piece from Dori Caymmi and Nelson Motta which is also the first duet performed by this most formidable duo. The message or conceptual notion here is the limitless power of a soul's song or life force if you will and the ability to transcend personal pain and self imposed limitations. Milagre marks the first recording of Jobim's legendary "Waters of March" complete with what may considered to be psychedelic lyrics in English with the idea originating with Adnet's husband and legendary drummer Duduke Da Fonseca. Adnet and Alves also take on the work of guitarist and composer Toninho Horta where the eclectic lyrical nature of Horta shines through on Amor Infinito/Bons Amigos.
When mentioning Brazilian music most people think of the beach, carnival or the non stop parties that Rio is well known for. While the bright and breezy samba feel is a thing of beauty in the right hands there is a conceptual nature of this project this hits ones cerebral trip wire. Milagre is about living life to the fullest, pulling that last once of joy from our soul as we transcend our own personal pain to embrace the healing power within this glorious music.
Vagabundo; Caminhos Cruzados; Vale Do Ribeira; Desafinada; Amor Infinito/Bons Amigos; Milagre; Tico-Tico No Fuba; Canto Triste; April Child.
Personnel: Maucha Adnet: vocals, percussion (8,12,14); Helio Alves: piano.
Special thanks to Jim at Jazz Promo Services.