Album Review of
Encontros - Orquestra Atlantica

Written by Joe Ross
July 21, 2018 - 12:00am EDT
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Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Antonio Adolfo is a pianist, composer and arranger who has had a busy career in music for the past 40 years with singers and small groups. His dream was to record an album with a big band that understood both Brazilian music and jazz. “Encontros” means “musical gatherings,” and Adolfo’s dream was realized after hearing Orquestra Atlantica, a Brazilian jazz ensemble formed in 2012 that includes seven horns and a rhythm section. On this album, big band jazz meets native Brazilian styles such as Samba, Baiao, Frevo, Bossa Nova and Afoxe. We hear Adolfo’s poignant original pieces like “Partido Samba-Funk” and “Africa Bahia Brasil,” and the album’s one standard, Miles Davis’ “Milestones” was rearranged to feature piano and accordion solos rather than trumpet. A piece like that may work better to showcase Adolfo’s piano in a smaller ensemble than in an overshadowing big band setting. Understated vocals and guitar on a few tracks similarly get overhwelmed. Despite that, the impressive big band is both vibrant and inspiring. We hear cohesive arrangements with distinctive moods and creative soloing. (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)