Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1099

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João Donato JID007 (Jazz Is Dead)

João Donato: JID007 (Jazz Is Dead) REVIEW



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UK release date 04.06.2021

Brazilian legend João Donato brings his musical exotica and new album to the Jazz Is Dead label head honchos, Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad. Donato is one of the greatest Brazilian composers from that fertile period. He's simply unique, a man who likes to keep it melodically simple and harmonically interesting. Pairing up with these guys is going to prove fruitful and the results are as rewarding as taking an evening stroll along the Copacabana while watching the fading sunset.

There's a kind of atmosphere of occasion about this riveting album, into which Loren Oden’s smokey voice full of half-whispers and intrigue, extolling the Portuguese lyrics poetically. The ensemble work is simply fantastic. Greg Paul's drumming exudes descarga and adds that lilt that only true masters can muster.

Joao's rhodes prowess is second to none too and reminds me of the great Joe Zawinul. It's interesting to note that he was so moved by the Jazz Is Dead team that he wrote a tune for them entitled “Adrian Ali And Gregory”, which plainly exudes love and taut musicianship leading into my fave, “Vermelho Quente”, which true to word, is red hot with a driving beat and bassline, revealing a magnificent modal tune with a fantastic breakbeat holding the reins supremely.

It's plain to see there’s something spellbinding about the intensity Donato conjures up and as if by magic, Jazz Is Dead have revived the Tropicália revolution - it's a perfect marriage of rhythm and harmony, breathtaking in places, highly sophisticated yet totally accessible. Exquisite, experimental and effusive too. This is, without doubt, a wonderful antidote for these strange and wearisome times.
Words Emrys Baird

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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