In 1969, Antonio Adolfo was pianist with the the legendary Brazilian singer Elis Regina who had just met Toots Thielemans in Stockholm and they recorded a classic recording “Elis & Toots - Aquarela do Brasil.” Several years later he met Meurkens who he refers to as “another incredible harmonica player.” They have played together several times including in Summer 2014 in New York City with his daughter leading to the recording of this album.
For this recording, they are joined by guitarist Claudio Spiewak, bassist Itaguara Brandão, drummer Adriano Santos and percussionist André Siqueira for some fresh takes of Brazilian music, including renditions of five songs penned by Antonio Carlos Jobim; a collaboration between Adolfo and Meurkens; three from Meurkens and two from Adolfo. Included are several celebrated Brazilian music classics starting with the lovely “The Girl From Ipanema (Garota de Ipanema);” and “Aqua De Beber (Water to Drink);” both by Jobim and Adolfo’s “Pretty World” (with English lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman).
Listening to her lovely singing on “The Girl From Ipanema,” one cannot avoid noting her rendition holds up well to the famous Astrid Gilberto rendition with Meurkens’ harmonica adding to this rendition's charm. “Copa Village,” a collaboration between Adolfo and Meurkens, is a breezy performance with Saboya’s charming wordless vocal serving as an additional horn-like voice to the harmonica. There is lovely piano here as the rhythm section provides solid, restrained support. Meurkens "Show De Bola (lyrics by Paulo Sergio Valle)" is lively with spice to the wonderful singing added by Meurkens' vibraphone. The rendition of “Aqua De Beber” is terrific with marvelous harmonica solo and Adolfo’s marvelous piano. Saboya delights on her father’s “Pretty World” that some may know from recordings by Sergio Mendes and Stevie Wonder.
Adolfo’s “Visão” with a lovely Saboyo wordless invocation of the melody is the final track. Originally recorded by Elis Regina and Toots Thielemans on “Aquarela do Brasil”, it is a fitting conclusion to the excellent and enchanting“Cope Village.”
I received my review copy from a publicist. I have made some stylistic changes to the original review that appeared in the May-June 2015 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 360). Here are Adolfo and Meurkens performing recently.