Pop/Rock/World CD Reviews

Various artists – Adventure Music: Ten Years (Sampler) – Adventure Music (3 CDs)

The Adventure Music label: from Brazilian music to folk and beyond.

Published on October 8, 2012

Various artists – Adventure Music: Ten Years (Sampler) – Adventure Music (3 CDs)

Various artists – Adventure Music: Ten Years (Sampler) – Adventure Music AM1076 2, CD 1: 68:27; CD 2: 71:08; CD 3: 69:36 ****:

An anniversary is a date which commemorates or celebrates a past event which occurred on the same day of the year as the initial event. Anniversaries can also denote when something was founded, and in the case of the 3-CD commemoration, Adventure Music: Ten Years, it’s the decennial of the Adventure Music label, established a decade ago by Brazilian music fan Richard Zirinsky and mandolin player Mike Marshall (Montreux, Modern Mandolin Quartet and a collaborator with numerous artists, including 2012 MacArthur Fellow Chris Thile). Over the last ten years, the Adventure Music label has grown, from issuing music from or influenced by Brazil, as well as Marshall’s own projects, to newer releases showcasing crossover bluegrass, vocal jazz and contemporary harp music. Listening to Adventure Music: Ten Years is an excellent way to experience the label’s range: there is nearly 3½ hours of material (44 tracks), handpicked by Monday Michiru, one of Japan’s preeminent soul and R&B singers, who is a recent addition to the Adventure Music roster.

Michiru’s assemblage focuses on flow, rather than being a chronology from older to latest, which means pieces from 2012 sit next to cuts from 2003 and so on. The emphasis is on the gems which Michiru drew from the label’s catalog. As she explains in the liner notes, “Choices are far from random, but purely tracks that touched me, made me smile, spoke to a deeper conscience.”  Most of the artists are probably best known to Brazilian or Adventure Music fans, so for the uninitiated there is plenty to discover. Disc one contains work from Moacir Santos (a Brazilian legend recognized for his Hollywood soundtracks) and Brazilian scat singer Clarice Assad and her muscular medley which includes “For Elis,” which is an homage to tempestuous popular female vocalist Elis Regina. On the folk side, there is the mandolin duet, “The Cat, the Mouse and the Chicken,” by Marshall and Caterina Litchenberg, who bridge the perceived gap between new folk and classical; and not to be outdone, Eva Scow (mandolin) and Dusty Brough (guitar) bring a modernistic manipulation to the finger-picking marvel “Sharon by the Sea,” which is underlain by funky Fender Rhodes. Another treasure is Maeve Gilchrist’s harp-fronted “Song of Delight,” a haunting pop piece highlighted by Gilchrist’s lyrics about family life amid daily commotions and contentment.

CD 2 has a similar sequence, which includes a highpoint from ethereal-voiced, Argentine vocalist Florencia Ruiz, on her cutting-edge “El Futuro, Flor (The Future, Flor),” which fluctuates from classically-nuanced wistfulness to a brash section with percussion, horn and blistering electric guitar. Another stand-out is the Latin jazz/fusion feature “Dirt Road (Estrada de Terra),” by rhythmically-oriented Philippe Baden Powell, heightened by the balance between Powell’s Herbie Hancock-esque keys and Carlos Malta’s earthy bass flute. The second disc’s most memorable folk piece is violinist Alex Hargreaves’ reconstituted version of Wes Montgomery’s “Road Song.” Hargreaves, with assistance from Marshall, bassist Paul Kowert and others, hews the tune into a brand-new conception, with some slight funk intonation, while keeping the cut swinging and swaying. For the most part, though, CD 2 concentrates on Brazilian material with both traditional and progressive accents, such as María Márquez’s “Tonada,” which mixes jazzy horns, ghostly vocals and trip-hop elements, and on the opposite spectrum, the poignant, acoustic guitar ode, “Outro Rio,” by Grammy-nominated Ricardo Silveira.

Disc Three continues the same approach, mingling conventional themes with broad-minded material. From Seattle, there is jazz and world music-influenced Jovino Santos Neto, who offers the bright, percussive and danceable “Alma Do Nordeste.” Marshall returns with another folk-hued, duo workout, the lively “Receita De Samba,” this time with choro mandolinist master Hamilton de Holanda.  Marshall tops that undertaking with another, the sizzling, Brazilian-tinged “El Diablo Suelta,” which pairs Marshall with multi-instrumentalist Jackeline Rago. String instrument aficionados will probably also enjoy the Modern Traditions Ensemble’s “Lamentos Do Morro,” a jazzy traditional cut full of colorful melody and impeccable technique. There is a lot more to uncover on Adventure Music: Ten Years and hopefully this overview will lead others to find out more about the artists who call this label home. Can’t wait to hear what happens over the next ten years.


CD 1: Orquestra Popular de Camara – Vinheta Espanha Ou Do Agreste? [Spanish Vignette or Wild Northeast?]; Moacir Santos – Bluishmen; Tom Lellis – Keeper of the Flame; Clarice Assad – For Elis; Daniel Santiago – Gregorian Samba; Muiza Adnet – Se Você Disser Que Sim [If You Say Yes]; Luiz Avellar/Ricardo Silveira – Cravo e Canela [Cinnamon and Clove]; Maeve Gilchrist – Song of Delight; Caterina Lichtenberg/Mike Marshall – The Cat, The Mouse and The Chicken; Hamilton De Holanda Quinteto – Brasilianos; Léa Freire – Tanto Canto [So Much Song]; Samba Meets Boogie Woogie – Adeus America; Mike Marshall/Jovino Santos Neto – Roseando; Dusty Brough/Eva Scow – Sharon by the Sea; Benjamin Taubkin – Em Torno De Influências [Around the Influences]

CD 2: Moacir Santos – Felipe; Alex Hargreaves – Road Song; Marcos Amorim – Colsas Demais Por Fazer [Many Things To Do]; Florencia Ruiz – El Futuro, Flor [The Future, Flor]; María Márquez – Tonada; Jovino Santos Neto – Passareiro [Birdsong]; Hamilton De Holanda Quinteto – Ano Bom [Good Year]; Philippe Baden Powell – Dirt Road [Estrada de Terra]; Toninho/Nicola Stilo – Vento [Wind]; Ricardo Silveira – Outro Rio [Another Rio]; Ricardo Peixoto/Claudia Villela – Ima; Gui Mallon – Baião Två; Lucia Pulido – Yo No Tengo Quien Me Quiera [I’ve No One To Love Me]; Yamandu Costa/Hamilton de Holanda – Flower of Life [Flor da Vida]; Tom Lellis – Canções e Momentos

CD 3: Jovino Santos Neto – Alma do Nordeste [Soul of the Northeast]; Moacir Santos – De Repente, Estou Feliz [Happily Happy]; Vittor Santos – Um Trombone Na Rua Tereza [A Trombone on Tereza Street]; Choro Famoso/Mike Marshall – Receita De Samba [Recipe for Samba]; Mario Adnet – Music Inside [Ela]; André Vasconcellos – Signals of Rain; Antonio Arnedo – Cumbia Cienaguera; María Márquez – Nature’s Princess; Mike Marshall – El Diablo Suelta [The Loose Devil]; Modern Traditions Ensemble – Lamentos Do Morro [Moans of the Hill]; Moacir Santos – Agora Eu Sei [Now I Know]; Contemporary America – The Music and the Word; Darol Anger/Mike Marshall/Väsen – Forslund; Orquestra Popular de Camara – Choro Moreno

—Doug Simpson

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