Adventure Music America
After over a decade on the forefront of the Brazilian jazz scene in Seattle, pianist-composer Jovino Santos Neto returns to his native city of Rio de Janeiro to unite with some of his former Hermeto Pascoal colleagues as well as the avant-garde maestro himself, for a high-energy offering of modern and mostly original music.
From the percussive opener, “Estrela Do Mar” (“Starfish”), one senses the spirited power of the group, consisting of the core rhythm section of Rogério Botter Maio on bass and Marcio Bahia on drums, with Neto taking the melodic helm in this rollicking 5/4 groove. The pianist also plays melodica, flutes and accordion on a number of the tracks, yet the overdubbed elements do not in any way detract from the intimate live feeling of the recording.
Mandolin virtuoso Hamilton de Holanda is explosive on the rhythmically dense third cut, “Gente Boa” (“Nice Folks”), and Hermeto Pascoal lends his multi-instrumental and compositional genius to “Juvenal no Grumari,” playing everything from water glass to chewing gum wrapper (sugarless, of course!). Vocalist Joyce lends her sultry scatting talents to “Nanã,” with other guests on the recording including acoustic guitarist Marcos Amorim and young harmonica artist Gabriel Grossi, whose exquisite phrasing embellishes Neto’s Bach-inspired chorinho “Bach-te-vi.”
All in all, Roda Carioca is a joyous journey of good friends and new young players on the modern Brazilian frontier.