Brazilian Trio - Helio Alves, Nilson Matta & Duduka Da Fonseca | Forests

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Jazz: Bossa Nova Latin: Brazilian Jazz Moods: Type: Lyrical
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by Brazilian Trio - Helio Alves, Nilson Matta & Duduka Da Fonseca

Brazilian samba jazz in a classic, swinging piano trio format- played be the leading Brazilian instrumentalists of their generation.
Genre: Jazz: Bossa Nova
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Amor
6:20 $0.99
2. Forests
7:06 $0.99
3. Samba Alegre
6:40 $0.99
4. Montreux
6:22 $0.99
5. Pro Zeca
7:08 $0.99
6. Tarde
5:50 $0.99
7. Ubatuba
6:27 $0.99
8. Paraty
5:56 $0.99
9. Flying Over Rio
3:37 $0.99
10. Vera Cruz
7:06 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The three New York based men from Brazil that make up Brazilian Trio – pianist Helio Alves, bassist Nilson Matta and drummer Duduka Da Fonseca -- each boasts an impressive résumé of making music with the finest artists from both their native and adopted countries. Their collective experience of playing jazz and Brazilian music for many years, as sidemen and leaders of their own bands, leaves them uniquely qualified as important musicians in the field of samba jazz, an exciting brand of music that is reaching a growing number listeners in the United States, Brazil and all over the world.

Helio Alves, the youngest member of the band, born to a pair of pianist parents in Sao Paulo in 1966, came to the United States at the age of eighteen to study jazz at Berklee College in Boston. Encouraged by trumpeter Claudio Roditi, he moved to New York in 1993 and later made a name for himself playing with the Brazilian brass man and Santi Debriano’s Circle Chant, as well as with Joyce, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim. Alves has performed with bossa nova icons Oscar Castro Neves and Rosa Passos, jazz greats Joe Henderson and Paquito d’Rivera and on the cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s Grammy Award winning compact disc Obrigado Brazil. The pianist remains a much in demand sideman, while also leading his own imposing trio.

The band’s bassist Nilson Matta was born in São Paulo and moved to Rio de Janeiro in 1970, before migrating to New York in 1985. Best known these days as the “man in the middle” of Trio da Paz, the innovative Brazilian-jazz cooperative group he co-leads with Da Fonseca and guitarist Romero Lubambo, Matta has performed and recorded with Wagner Tiso, Luiz Bonfá, Joe Henderson and Kenny Barron. He was a regular with pianist Aloiso Aguiar’s early samba jazz trio and an important member of the late Don Pullen’s ground breaking band, the African-Brazilian Music Connection. He’s also performed and recorded with Claudio Roditi, Paquito d’ Rivera, Slide Hampton, Gato Barbieri and Rosa Passos, appeared on both of Yo-Yo Ma’s Grammy winning albums of Brazilian music and leads his own group, Nilson Matta – Brazilian Voyage.

Drummer Duduka Da Fonseca, since coming to New York from Rio in 1975, has been one of the leading progenitors of samba jazz. His early groups, the New York Samba Band and Brazilian Express, were among the first to meld jazz and Brazilian music in a manner that in no way diluted either style. As with his two Brazilian Trio bandmates, Da Fonseca has worked with some of the best performers from both Brazil and the United States. His discography includes appearances with everyone from Antonio Carlos Jobim and Astrud Gilberto to Phil Woods and John Zorn. In addition to his work with Trio da Paz, Da Fonseca performs and records regularly with his wife, the talented vocalist Maucha Adnet and with his own exciting quintet. His 2002 debut date Samba Jazz Fantasia was nominated for a Grammy.

On the surface, Brazilian Trio operates in much the same way as most classic jazz piano trios. In the tradition of groups led by Bill Evans, Tommy Flanagan and Kenny Barron (who collaborated with Trio da Paz on his decidedly successful Canta Brasil), each member of the unit operates on an equivalent basis in determining the harmonic, melodic and rhythmic tone of the music at any moment. What distinguishes this band from most other groups is the “bilingual” musical vocabulary that the members employ – drawing upon myriad Brazilian rhythms and the country’s rich melodic sensibility that stems from its superb popular songbook – in their improvisational excursions.

Appropriately, the program on Forests, is divided equally between selections from the contemporary Brazilian repertoire and original pieces that demonstrate the compositional sophistication of the group’s members. Leading off with Ivan Lins beautiful Amor, the trio demonstrates the sense of shared roots and objectives that gives the group its distinctive character, as they traverse a variety of moods, meshing flawlessly with each subtle shift.

Matta’s Forests, the composer’s dedication to all earth’s forests, particularly to the Amazon Rain-Forest, is an episodic piece that begins with the sounds of nature and the composer’s invocation, before the trio introduction in which Matta’s melodic bass and Da Fonseca’s supple brushwork join Alves’ appealing piano in setting the melancholic mood that abruptly changes to an upbeat section that includes a bass-drum dialogue and a Da Fonseca solo with a Baião beat that seamlessly segues back into the poignant piano melody heard earlier on.

Samba Alegre, by Alves, epitomizes the rich sound of the group, with its bright rhythmic line that alludes to the well known buoyant Brazilian temperament and references the pianist’s early classical training. Matta’s bass solo showcases his warm tone and lyrical notes, while his exchanges with Duduka again highlight the pair’s shared experience and resultant simpatico.

Hermeto Pascoal’s Montreux, first heard in 1979 at the Swiss Festival for which it is named, is a beautiful song that has somehow managed to be largely ignored by both the jazz and Brazilian music communities. Here it is given an inspired revival that should help bring it the increased popularity it deserves.

Pro Zeca is a perfect vehicle for the band members to show off their individual talents. The classic Baião-Samba leaves lots of room for each player to stretch out, particularly Da Fonseca, whose masterful mallet work is a clear indication of his importance as an innovator on the Brazilian jazz scene.

Milton Nascimento’s Tarde is a musical work of uncommon beauty, a moving exposition of that indefinable mood of saudade that often arises with the twilight of the song’s title. Alves distinguishes himself as a pianist of exceptional depth and taste with his emotionally powerful performance here. On Ubatuba, a soulful selection named for the beautiful Brazilian coastal city, he proves himself to be an equally skilled composer.

Paraty, by Matta, debuted on Don Pullen’s Ode To Life African-Brazilian Music Connection album and has since made successive appearances on Trio da Paz’s Partido Out and Kenny Barron’s Canta Brasil. The rousing romp written in honor of the 18th Century Brazilian city is served particularly well here by Alves’ prodigious piano technique.

Da Fonseca’s beautiful Flying Over Rio, the drummer’s sole compositional contribution to the program, shows him to be a noteworthy composer, demonstrating a sensitivity not usually associated with his instrument.

The date concludes fittingly with of Brazil’s best known compositions. Vera Cruz, by Milton Nascimento, is one of the composer’s most popular pieces among the musicians that make up the Brazilian jazz community and is frequently heard as a set closer in samba jazz performances, as it is here.

Helio Alves, Nilson Matta and Duduka Da Fonseca are each highly respected members of the New York Brazilian jazz community. As leaders and sidemen their musicianship contributes greatly to the continued development of jazz and Brazilian music in the city. As Brazilian Trio their combined talents exceed even the considerable sum of their impressive individual parts and the group’s debut marks the beginning of a new era for their music - one that is sure to be heard all over the world.
Russ Musto

Produced by Helio Alves, Duduka Da Fonseca & Nilson Matta. Recorded at Acoustic Recordings, Brooklyn, NY, on May 22, 23, and September 24, 2007. Recorded and mixed by Michael Brorby. Mastered by Katsohiko Naito at Avatar Studios, NY. Photography : Fernando Natalici. Background painting on CD cover: Elizabeth Jobim. Package design: Three and Co., New York Executive Producer: Joachim “Jochen” Becker.



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