This delightful CD is the long-postponed project of two popular interpreters and composers of Brazilian music: bassist Nilson Matta and Hendrick Meurkens on vibes, marimba, and chromatic harmonica, making wistful, soulful sounds that blend naturally into this harmonic landscape. The other players include the splendid Italian jazz pianist Dado Moroni on two tracks and four superb Brazilian musicians based in New York: guitarist Romero Lubambo, drummer Duduka Da Fonsesca, vocalist Maucha Adnet, and pianist Helio Alvez, known for his clean, swinging lines. Two Jobim standards are nicely done: the languid "Amor em Paz," with lovely soloing by Lubambo, and the triumphant "Chega de Saudade" (aka "No More Blues"), where the mix doesn't capture Adnet's satiny, live voice, but can't hide her impeccable time. The closer is a free-form romp on Hermeto Pascoal's "O Ovo," where Da Fonsesca finally gets to stretch out and shine. The rest are tuneful originals by the co-leaders, such as Meurken's evocative travel pieces -- "Summer in San Francisco" and "Prague in March" -- and Matta's beautiful bossa tributes to his mother, "Rosa," and wife, "This Is for Luisa." There's also Meurken's jolly, jazzy version of the traditional chorinho and Matta's churning salute to Baden Powell, which highlights his strong, warm bass work and contains a surprise: a Bach prelude that swings hard. Fine work all around and an excellent, varied sampler of Brazilian jazz.
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AllMusic Review by Judith Schlesinger