The Brazilian Trio makes inspired rhythms on “Aguas Brasileiras”

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The veteran group of performers known as The Brazilian Trio brings a formidable amount of talent to bear on an album full of rhythmic songs inspired by life and nature. From the title track and beyond, the trio plays original and tribute songs that pulsate with style. “Aguas Brasileiras,”the third recording by The Brazilian Trio was released Nov. 6, 2020.

About The Brazilian Trio

The Brazilian Trio is comprised of Helio Alves on piano, Nilson Matta on bass, and Duduka Da Fonseca on drums. Separately, the three have an impressive list of accomplishments that they have brought to bear on the current album.

Alves, a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, moved to New York City in 1993. He has played with a host of musical legends, from Yo-Yo Ma to Gato Barbieri. In addition to playing with others, Alves has released four CDs as a bandleader. He is known for being an elegant and eclectic performer.

For his part, Matta is considered a stellar performer in his own right. Born in Brazil, Matta arrived in New York in 1985. Celebrated all over the world for his style and skill, Matta performed with some of the most notable musicians in his native country. He has become a go-to bassist for Latin-inspired jazz. The prolific performer and composer is also an educator helping to teach future generation of bassists.

Da Fonseca is from Rio de Janeiro. He has performed on more than 400 albums. Having grown up in what is known as the golden age of the samba, Da Fonseca formed his first samba band at 13 and has never looked back. He has played with popular Brazilian musicians, and the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra. For many, Da Fonseca’s style is the very definition of drumming.

About “Aguas Brasileiras” by The Brazilian Trio

“Aguas Brasileiras” is a blend of Brazilian music and jazz. The sound of the recording is almost a study in contrasts– it is as soothing as it is energetic. The trio seems to excel at luring audiences in, and a minute or so in, listeners are pleasantly surprised by a rhythmic turn, or a singular passage from one of the instruments represented that warrants another listen.

The history of achievement enjoyed by The Brazilian Trio no doubt plays a role in the success of this recording. The group’s first recording, 2008’s “Forests,” earned a Latin Grammy nomination.

“Aguas Brasileiras” is comprised of 10 songs. All of which are worth listening to and enjoying. Two standouts on the recording are the title track and “Boogie Stop Shuffle,” The Brazilian Trio version of the Charles Mingus tune.

“Aguas Brasileiras” was composed by Matta and was inspired by the Brazilian South Atlantic Ocean and a number of Brazil’s rivers, including the Amazon. A ballad with reflective tones, with each instrument demonstrating the sound quality of natural elements. The brushed drumming stands in for waves washing in and out, and the piano twinkling sounds like rain drops.

“Boogie Stop Shuffle” is an example of a song that could easily pass for an original. The trio manages to make the track sound like their own. The song swings, but is infused with the rhythms of Baiao from Northeastern Brazil. The rhythm gets hypnotic at about a minute and a half in. Repeated spins are necessary for audiences to fully appreciate everything that is happening on this song.

“Aguas Brasilieiras” is a masterwork of sound and style. Regardless of a listener’s knowledge of jazz, there is plenty to appreciate about this album.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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