NY Music Review by Marilyn Lester
Grammy Award-winning composer, arranger, and guitarist Mario Adnet had just flown in from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the temperature was a soaring 100 degrees. At Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, a welcome refuge from 19-degree New York, if the room wasn’t exactly sizzling, it was comfortably warm in Adnet’s ultra-laid-back style of classic bossa nova.
Leading off the set with his own composition, “Sete Rios,” Adnet set the tone for the evening, allowing himself and his guitar to take a back seat to the piano of Vitor Gonçalves and the various reeds as played by Billy Drewes, the American composer and arranger. It was Drewes who did the heavy-lifting throughout the evening, showing a solid versatility on flute, b-flat clarinet, and soprano and tenor saxophones. Eduardo Belo played a steady bass and Duduka Da Fonseca provided drums and percussion with an almost mystic, ethereal subtlety.
Adnet is celebrating 35 years in the music business, and in his recording career has featured his own work as well as playing homage to the fathers of bossa nova, mainly Antonio Carlos (Tom) Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes, and Philippe Baden Powell. As a celebration of self, the set accordingly was geared toward Adnet’s own work such as the pleasant “Song to Isabella” and “O Samba Vai.”
Daughter Antonia Adnet joined her father for a duet on “Carnivalzinho.” Adnet the father, from time to time throughout the evening, sang the odd lyric. He also scatted in that Brazilian way – a kind of ba-da-da accompaniment to the notes – demonstrating a soft, lyrical voice reminiscent of bossa pioneer João Gilberto. Ms. Adnet, a composer, arranger, guitarist and violinist in her own right, comes up weakest in the vocal department. One of the important and game-changing attributes of bossa nova is the projection of the voice; for females it’s reflected in a “husky” style made secure by the likes of Gal Costa, Elis Regina and Bebel Gilberto. While comparisons may be unfair, Adnet doesn’t reach the bar set by these women.
Bossa nova, a lyrical fusion of samba and jazz, generally tips toward the samba, an African-based rhythm with an emphasis on the second beat. It’s a pleasant sound, but without variation can be too much of a good thing. The failing of the set was too little contrast in tempo. Some relief was provided in a piece with a waltz-tango mode (reminiscent of Argentine tango master, Astor Piazzolla) and in an energetic tune with a waltz-maracatu beat. In his body of work, Adnet certainly knows how to change it up. His compositions such as “Trote da Rap,” and “Meu Bom Luizão” are but two illustrations of many.
Despite some disappointments, Adnet ultimately put on a happy-making show – but that, delightfully, is the Brazilian way. In true Carioca fashion, the finale was a joyous family affair, with sister Maucha Adnet (she’s married to drummer Da Fonseca), on stage with Mario, Antonia, et al. While these “Sounds of Brazil” might be a very small slice of a much much bigger pie, they’re still tasty morsels to be savored.
Sounds of Brazil: Mario Adnet, February 20, 21 and 22 at 7:30 and 9:30 PM
Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola, 10 Columbus Circle, 212- 258-9595, www.jazz.org/dizzys