Antonio Adolfo Mixes Things Up on “Hybrido…”

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Latin Grammy-nominated pianist, Antonio Adolfo mixes it up and pays homage to Wayne Shorter on his latest release, “Hybrido—From Rio to Wayne Shorter.” In addition to playing piano, Adolfo also works as a composer and arranger. On ‘Hybrido,’ Adolfo looks to the 1960s and 1970s to the works of Wayne Shorter and puts a refreshing spin on this compilation of mostly classics. The one new song, “Afosamba,” easily fits with the CD’s other eight tracks.

Making New Fusions

For the linguistically curious, “hybrido” is Portuguese for hybrid. Maybe that was easy enough to figure out.

Adolfo’s thoughtful liner notes explain that the traditions of different races and cultures blend frequently, especially in music. Shorter’s work, influenced by various musicians, has influenced musicians around the world. Adolfo brings together those influences and the composer in this CD.

“Deluge”

Where there is not an obvious surrealistic or art for art’s sake kind of approach, I appreciate themes. In literature or music, knowing where each element is leading the whole is important — key, sometimes — to understanding a song is making sense of its title.

Perhaps it was either a bold move, or an appropriate one, to begin the recording with a track titled, “Deluge.” The piece is replete with lush horns and electric piano that sound as if they are swaying together in a warm breeze. The horns and piano sit under the rhythmic umbrella of percussion. The vibrant sound consumes listeners in a pleasing way. The horn solos that occur around the midpoint add a galvanizing contrast to the rest of the instrumentation. Toward the end, the electric piano showcase is a nice touch along with the percussion’s quickening pace.

With “Deluge,” audiences are clued in to the type of soundscapes they might find on the rest of the recording. The sumptuous rhythms and imagery the song lends itself to warrant further listening.

“Footprints”

One of several guest artists on the recording is Brazilian singer, songwriter and guitarist, Ze` Renato. On “Footprints” Renato provides vocalese that perfectly punctuates the track. The phrasing is long and seamless. The build and maintenance of intensity can easily remind audiences of a stroll along the beach, the footprints left behind, and the force building in each molecule of water as the tide comes to erase all evidence of humanity. Like “Deluge,” “Footprints” is lush and a bit exotic, while at the same time, familiar. Some listeners might have heard Shorter’s compositions before, but they not heard them like this.

“Afosamba”

Like much of this CD, this track calls to mind dancing. This association is made without regard to the title. The instrumentation sounds like something dancers from different genres could add moves to, using limbs and digits for punctuation. There are strong Latin elements, including a lively electric piano motif that plays a tremendous role in the dance imagery.

Even though this is Adolfo’s original composition, this piece plays well with the others on the recording, thematically and sonically. This track is also where the recording ends. The vibrant, life-affirming, rhythm-rich sound remain in the listeners’ minds, reminding them that music culture, in its variant forms, melds humans together in a way that is both satisfying and right.

 

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