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Brazilian Trio: Forests

Brazilian Trio is Helio Alves (piano), Nilson Matta (bass), and Duduka Da Fonseca (drums). It is, therefore, Trio Da Paz with Alves’ piano replacing the guitar of Romero Lubambo.

There is a term that has been applied to such music: “samba jazz.” Whereas Trio Da Paz emphasizes the samba, Brazilian Trio tilts toward the jazz. Yet both groups share a sensibility. It is unmistakably of São Paulo and Rio, and it has to do with poignant, piercing melodicism and throbbing rhythmic sensuality, a celebration of life and an acceptance that it is transitory.

Alves is up to the challenge of replacing Lubambo, one of the great living guitarists. He has an airy, gliding relationship to complex time, and a touch so supple that everything he plays sounds gently lyrical, even hard, fast dances like Matta’s “Paraty.”

The 10 songs include strong originals like Matta’s ambitious, diverse, haunting title track and Da Fonseca’s “Flying Over Rio,” for which a poet should write lyrics. There are also mostly unknown gems from the contemporary Brazilian repertoire like Hermeto Pascoal’s “Montreux” and Milton Nascimento’s “Tarde.” They sound like natural extensions of Forests, a world complete unto itself that draws the listener in like a dream.

Originally Published