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Muiza Adnet: Sings Moacir Santos

Every jazz fan knows the name Antonio Carlos Jobim. Every jazz fan should be equally familiar with the name Moacir Santos. When vocalist Muiza Adnet, with her equally gifted brother Mario beside her as arranger and musical director (and guitarist on three of the album’s dozen tracks), entered a Rio studio in early 2006, she had no way of knowing that this tribute to one of the giants of Brazilian music would turn out to be an epitaph. Heavily involved in the disc’s production and recording (even lending his earthy baritone to four songs), Santos died, at age 80, shortly after the sessions were completed. Fortunately, it’s hard to imagine a finer, more loving, farewell.

The album opens on gentle waves of flute, courtesy of Andrea Ernest Dias (just one of more than a dozen of Brazil’s most gifted players represented throughout, including another member of the multi-talented Adnet clan, Antonia) as Adnet and Santos meander through “Ciranda,” a delightful northern Brazilian dance tune that recalls Santos’ birthplace, Flores. Celebrating Adnet’s lifetime of work alongside such luminaries as Gilberto Gil (with whom he wrote “Ciranda”), Mario Telles, Vinicius de Moraes and Yanna Cotti (plus his collaborations with Americans Jay Livingston and Ray Evans), much of the album floats on soft clouds of joy.

But there are darker strains, too, such as “Off and On,” Santos’ clever take on gambling with love, the vibrant romantic rollercoaster of “This Life,” the twilight splendor of “Naña” and the august majesty and reverence of “A Santinha lá de Serra,” with Adnet and Santos joined on vocals by the inimitable Milton Nascimento. At the album’s midpoint comes “Lembre-Se.” It tells of the love’s indelible stamp, but is also semi-autobiographical. In it, Santos asks that we never forget his songs. Thanks to Adnet and her inspired associates, we never will.

Originally Published