Saturday, May 3, 2008

In Review--Sunny Music from Nordeste Brasil

Jovino Santos Neto
Alma do Nordeste

Adventure Music

For his third release on Adventure Music, Brazilian jazz pianist and composer Jovino Santos Neto celebrates the music of Northeastern Brazil--and what a wealth of musical styles! Alma do Nordeste (Soul of the Northeast), features a variety of Brazilian genres including, Baião, xote, Forrò, marcha and others. Lush Afro-Brazilian polyrhythms provide a backdrop for swirling flute, woodwinds, lush accordion and gorgeous instrumental harmonies.

From the cover art to the passionate musicianship of Jovino (piano, melodica, flute), Toninho Ferragutti (accordion), Gabriel Grossi (harmonica), Carlos Malta, Eduardo Neves and Marcelo Martins (woodwinds), Joseman Honaine (10 string guitar), Dudu Lima (basses), Marcio Bahia (drums), Tiago da Serrinha and Durval Pereira (percussion) and Pernambuco (voice)--whew!, this music feels like the sun bursting forth through layers of clouds. Especially on the title track, when the music breaks into a frenzy guided by Pernambuco's passionate vocals.

It is a real challenge to focus on any one of the thirteen tracks since they are all splendid well-researched compositions. As always, Jovino has brought a great deal of sensitivity and enchantment to his compositions and performance. The band he recorded with in Rio appears tight and the musicians play well off each other. The opening track, Festa na Macuca immediately captivates and Ferragutti's accordion grabs the spotlight.

Alma do Nordeste certainly is one of those album that takes a few listens to review because of its rich musical textures and layers. The musicians solo throughout and I can imagine that a live performance by this band would both excite and wear out the audience who would be applauding no doubt at every twist and turn. This album combines excitement, beauty, passion with gorgeous melodies. Jovino's hard work has paid off once again.


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