The brilliant musicianship of this all-star Brazilian supergroup is the key to a disc full of enjoyment. Superbly led by guitarist Romero Lubambo, with bassist Nilson Matta and drummer Duduka Da Fonseca, this band has been together for 15 years, and the musicians play off each other with an acute understanding of their bandmates’ dynamics and directions. They make an adventure of classic jazz tunes like the opener, “Seven Steps to Heaven,” a flying rendition that puts Da Fonseca’s demanding drums at center stage.
The cuts alternate standards from America and Brazil, each approached with creativity, even on the rather uninspired choice of material, such as “Somewhere.” “Ding Dong the Witch Is Dead,” another rather odd selection, is introduced with whistling that definitely brings a smile as it continually builds up momentum.
The trio pays homage to Baden Powell and Antonio Carlos Jobim with strong performances of their compositions, including the latter’s melodic “Corcovado” that closes the disc. In many ways, it doesn’t really seem to matter much what tunes these musicians play; they use their skills and imagination to shape them into a freshly explored creations.