Antonio Adolfo ‘Viralata’ LP (Far Out) 4/5

In what has been a relatively quiet year for Brazilian re-issues, this late-1970s comes as a pleasant surprise and a name this writer knew little about. Very much in the Brazilian fusion of jazz with rootsier elements, the music has a lightness of touch with Fender Rhodes to the fore, and, while not earth shattering, the music as a whole is atmospheric and quite varied in parts. Multi-keyboardist Adolfo can be compared in outlook with José Roberto Bertrami, even though the compositions are not quite as intricate, nor as memorable.

The melodic opener, ‘Cascavel’, features a distinctive bass riff and then leads into a melodic mid-tempo percussive number. Book ending the re-issue is the larger ensemble of brass, drums and percussion, and funk-tinged bass guitar collectively create a shuffling march rhythm on the excellent ‘A Marcha’ and this just has the faintest hint of the Banda Black Rio sound and ends the album on an engaging and uplifting note.

More typical of the rest is the Fender-led mid-tempo groove of ‘Diana e Paulo’, with soprano saxophone and flute combining effectively, taking a leaf out of Weather Report, and with rhythm guitar taking a more prominent role. Classic jazz samba is conjured up on the female vocals plus Brazilian cavaquinho (small rhythm guitar that traditionally accompanies classic samba song repertoire) song ‘Alegria de Carnaval’. that is a light and breezy number. For more reflective flavours, ‘Paraiba do Sul’ displays a lightness of touch on keyboards and this is repeated on the western classical influenced number ‘Brincandeira em Ré’. Worth checking out this solid set of mainly instrumental pieces and yet another small piece of the larger jigsaw of Brazilian popular music.

Tim Stenhouse