Leandro Cabral: piano; Sidiel Vieira: bass; Vitor Cabral: drums and percussion.
Leandro Cabral, an emergent Brazilian pianist and composer of exemplary perception, has in Alfa, his sophomore album, a beautiful statement of impeccable musicality and incredible interaction with his trio mates, bassist Sidiel Vieira and drummer Vitor Cabral.
Infused with gleeful intonations, the longtime friends embark on a musical journey packed with unique sounds and granular details where the richness of the Brazilian music meets the quieter side of jazz. To give you a rough idea of what you can find here, imagine Jobim’s bossanova harmonization blended with the pacifism of Marcin Wasilewski’s improvisation.
Unusual Brazilian rhythms such as the vassi and ijexá, both original from Bahia, populate many of Cabral’s compositions. The opening tune, “O Amor Que Se Deu” is one of them, crafted with sensitivity and delivered with eloquence, but it was through “Rute e Sua Grandeza” that they hit my soul. It’s a ravishing, meditative, and soulful piece suffused with warm compassion and overflowing energy.
Another impactful number is the percussive title track, a relaxing prayer reminiscent of Manu Katché’s music, which I imagine proclaiming peace for everyone and thanking the Creator for the life and the music. It features a fantastic bass solo.
Standing as a romantic emanation and featuring guests Vanessa Moreno on vocals and Cássio Ferreira on soprano, “A Dança” is less danceable than “O Grande Azul”, a freeing Brazilian-influenced rapture.
Jobim’s “Outra Vez” starts with Leandro’s intimate piano intro, and is renovated through fresh, docile sounds as it finds shelter in a well-tangled turnaround by the end. The spiciest rhythms come from Johnny Alf’s Brazilian classic “Rapaz de Bem” while “Inutil Paisagem” naturally suggests sadness and beauty in equal amounts, fitting in the same package as Leandro’s “Valsa do Amanhã” and “Marcela”.
Alfa is a highly recommended recording. Profoundly enthralling in its introspective harmony, which is incessantly enhanced by the trio’s fabulous chemistry.
04 – Rute e Sua Grandeza ► 06 – O Grande Azul ► 08 – Alfa