July 19, 2024


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CD review: Antonio Adolfo – Bossa 65 – Celebrating Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal – 2023: Video, CD cover

Truly an ageless wonder carrying the romance, rhythms and mystique of bossa nova with him every time he brings his soulful magic to the piano, Antonio Adolfo is celebrating in 2023 an incredible 60 years since he emerged as a member of Samba Cinco, which played the famous Beco das Garrafas in Rio.

Having generously graced us these past few years with albums celebrating the history of the musical style, he follows Bruma: Celebrating Milton Nascimento (2020), Jobim Forever (2021) and Octet and Originals (an homage to his own classic compositions) with Bossa 65: Celebrating Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal. These two living legends may not have the enduring marquee value of Jobim, Nascimento, Gilberto Gil or Joao Gilberto have, but they both played seminal roles in the formation of bossa nova. Menescal is considered a pioneer of the style and Lyra – whom Adolfo considers his musical mentor and godfather – was a key member of that first generation.

Bossa 65, presumably named to celebrate its approaching 65th birthday, is a beautifully nuanced, thoughtfully balanced homage, with five Menescal and Lyra classics each, flowing freely like a heartfelt, provocative conversation, in in vibrant, brassy arrangements with dazzling solos by Adolfo, guitarist Lula Galvo, trombonist Rafael Rocha and saxophonists Marcelo Martins and Danilo Sinna.

While the collection can certainly be enjoyed as a warmly rhythmic re-imagined visit to a dreamier and more romantic space in time, Adolfo carries a nugget of joyous history of the genre (and sometimes his own personal background) in every song. Case in point: the inclusion of the plucky samba (with maracatu elements) “Maria Moita” from “Pobre Menina Rica,” a musical play scored by Lyra which facilitated the first meeting (circa 1963) between the composer and Adolfo, who worked on the show.

The spirited final track on the album, Lyra’s “Sabe Voce” was also part of that play. Adolfo’s connection with Menescal goes back to 1965, when the pianist joined the popular group Conjunto Roberto Menescal; a few years later, the two created a group to accompany legendary singer Elis Regina in Europe. Adolfo represents Menescals’s grand legacy via a seductive, elegant rendition of “O Barquinho” and the intoxicating, richly percussive and wildly improvisational “Bye Bye Brasil,” from the 1980 movie of the same name. Adolfo was there when the story of bossa was being created and it’s inspiring to hear him so passionately present the music of the era to new generations.

The repertoire, musicians …. actually. everything. I also like the sound of it. Everything sounds nice to me. It is great when we have a finalized album and listen to it and say: That is it!!! That’s what I wanted to show!! And this new album came in the right time: 65 years of inauguration of Bossa Nova, the legendary composers are still alive and in good health (Lyra is 90 and Menescal, 86), It is great to send the flowers to people you pay a tribute to when they are still alive! I’ve worked many times with both composers, as you can see in the liner notes. They are great and deserve many tributes. And Bossa Nova was my deepest influence together with Jazz and Brazilian music. We are always trying …! Well, the musicians are pretty much the same who have been participating in my recent albums: Jorge Helder, Rafael Barata, Lula Galvao, Dada Costa, Jesse Sadoc, Danilo Sinna, Marcelo Martins and Rafael Rocha. GREAT musicians!! The album was recorded live with the 8 musicians, except Dada Costa (percussion), who spent one session (on the day 5) overdubbing some tracks with Rafael Barata (percussion) under my direction. The mixing was done by Marcelo Saboia, my cousin, who has a studio in a small town on Rio de Janeiro state hills (Friburgo) and Andre Dias, mastering engineer, who also works in his house in the Rio de Janeiro Hills (Miguel Pereira) as well. The recording assistant engineer Leo Alcantara, was my piano student some time ago,- an interview with me said Antonio Adolfo.

The main challenge with producing BOSSA 65: A Tribute to Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal was choosing only five songs by each of these two legends.


01 – COISA MAIS LINDA (Most Beautiful Thing) Koy zah – mah-eez – leendah (by Carlos Lyra and Vinícius de Moraes)
02 – SAMBA DO CARIOCA (Carioca’s Samba) Sambah – du – kah ree oh kah (by Carlos Lyra and Vinícius de Moraes)
03 – BYE BYE BRASIL (by Roberto Menescal and Chico Buarque)
04 – O BARQUINHO (Little Boat) Ooh – bahr key nee-oh (by Roberto Menescal and Ronaldo Boscoli)
05 – MARIA MOITA (Maria Shut-Mouth) Maria – mow eehtah (by Carlos Lyra and Vinícius de Moraes)
06 – TETE Teh teh (by Roberto Menescal and Ronaldo Boscoli)
07 – MARCHA DA QUARTA-FEIRA DE CINZAS (Ash Wednesday March) Mahr chah – dah – koo ahr tah – fehy rah deh – seen zas (by Carlos Lyra and Vinícius de Moraes)
08 – RIO reeh –oh (by Roberto Menescal and Ronaldo Boscoli)
09 – NOS E O MAR (We And The Sea) Noise – ee – ooh mahr (by Roberto Menescal and Ronaldo Boscoli)
10 – SABE VOCÊ (Do You Know) Sah beh – voh seh (by Carlos Lyra and Vinícius de Moraes)


PERCUSSION (tracks 2, 3, 4, 5, 9): DADA COSTA and RAFAEL BARATA


Recording Engineer: Marcelo Saboia
Assistant Engineer: Leo Alcantara (Visom Digital – Rio – BR)
Mixing Engineer: Marcelo Saboia (Escritorio do Saboia – Friburgo RJ – BR)
Mastering Engineer: Andre Dias (Post Modern Mastering – Miguel Pereira RJ – BR)
Cover Illustration and Design: Arisio Rabin.

Special Thanks: Gabe O’Meara, Pedro Garcia, Judy and Alan Wexler.

Buy from here – New CD 2023

Antonio Adolfo: Bossa 65 - Celebrating Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal

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