Monday, February 11, 2008

Moody Magic from Antonio Adolfo

Antonio Adolfo is difficult to nail down. He started his career as the pianist for a relatively unknown, but much admired instrumental bossa nova trio, Conjunto/Trio 3-D. Later, in the spirit of the times he grew out his hair and started writing songs with composer Tiberio Gaspar and leading a counter-culture-inspired group by the name of A Brazuka. This hippy-trippy band then gave way to Antonio Adolfo the solo artist and session musician and arranger extraordinaire. Now, Adolfo is back in the recording studio and recently released a new album "Bola da Vez" as Antonio Adolfo & Brazil Brazuka. Just click on THIS LINK to see all the references to Adolfo on Loronix just to see how often he comes up as songwriter or pianist or arranger.

Antonio Adolfo e A Brazuca - Transamazonica
This is the very first Antonio Adolfo track I ever heard, gleaned from the excellent "Blue Brazil vol. 2" compilation that I picked up early in my Brazilian obsession. The song stuck out as a monster from the get-go and I was curious about this mysterious band and band-leader . . .

Antonio Adolfo - Venice (1972)
Antonio Adolfo's first solo album is a moody masterpiece even among all of the other moody masterpieces that emerged from Brazil in this magical year of 1972. Competing among Milton Nascimento & Lo Borges' "Clube da Esquina", Caetano Veloso's "Transa", Marcos Valle's "Vento Sul" and Arthur Verocai's legendary solo album, Adolfo's solo record is still a revelation. Stripped of Brazuka's cacophony, Adolfo is left with his pianos (& keyboards), crack session musicians and some very sad songs. Venice is a heartbreaking sketch of a song that I've loved since first hearing the next version on his "Feito Em Casa" album. Listening to these two versions back to back shows them each to be magical. I prefer the keyboard effect on this one though.

Antonio Adolfo - Venice (1977)
This is the first Adolfo album I got and rivals his 1972 album for my top pick. This album is famous because it is basically the first independently produced and distributed record in Brazil (excepting Tim Maia's Racional records, which are BIG exceptions). The story goes that Adolfo was sick of working with the record labels and just wanted to do it on his own, which he did, and this marvelous album sold like crazy and went from having a hand-pressed cover and distribution out of Adolfo's car to mass production.
The version of Venice here is longer and more developed from the sketch it received on his 1972 album.

Antonio Adolfo & Brazil Brazuka - Luizao
This was the first song that I heard off of Adolfo's new album as it was first released on a 7" with a Daz-I-Kue remix on the flip. I missed out on getting the limited pressing of the vinyl, but successfully tracked down a MP3. This song is a dedication to Luizao, one of Adolfo's (among others) sidemen for many years on bass guitar. Basically, the lyric goes that there will be no more happiness without Luizao . . . a sad guy I know, but sometimes sad songs can be more beautiful than happy songs. You probably noticed that this is another Adolfo reinvention, this time of this post's first song, "Transamazonica". You can buy this digital album from Far Out Recordings here or online at Dustygroove.

1 comment:

josh said...

Top stuff, as usual.

Among those "moody masterpieces" of the early 1970s era, we've gotta count the Edu Lobo self-titled LP produced by Maestro Gaya.