Samba Jazz in Black & White
The great Brazilian drummer (one-third of Trio da Paz) unites with fellow countrymen Helio Alves (piano), Guilherme Monteiro (guitar) and Leonardo Cioglia (bass) along with a talented new saxophonist from Israel, Anat Cohen, for a lively program of jazz-infused sambas (or is that samba-fueled jazz?). Infectious, churning rhythms prevail throughout this appealing collection, with all the players equally conversant in Brazilian sambas, marchas, chorinhos or afoxés and American bebop.
Special guest Claudio Roditi turns in a dramatic muted trumpet solo on the dulcet Chico Buarque ballad “Bye Bye Brasil,” underscored by da Fonseca’s brisk, interactive brushwork. Cohen supplies the buoyant clarinet line on Hermeto Pascoal’s “Chorinho Pra Ele,” then plays some explosively emotive soprano sax on Egberto Gismonti’s moving “Palhaco,” while guest guitarist Vic Juris wails with impunity on a rhythmically charged rendition of Toninho Horta’s “Viver de Amor.” Da Fonseca’s wife, Maucha Adnet, provides alluring vocals on Vinícius de Moraes’ “Medo de Amar.” For the obligatory Jobim number, da Fonseca and company offer up a beautiful rendition of the melancholy ballad “O Grande Amor,” highlighted by Cohen’s evocative, Getzian tenor work. And the ensemble strikes a perfect balance between samba and jazz on Alves’ “Sambetinho,” which has da Fonseca traversing the kit with the nuanced touch and loose, polyrhythmic aplomb of a Brazilian Billy Higgins.