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Album Review

Since coming to the U.S. during the 1980s to study at Berklee, Brazilian pianist Helio Alves has built a formidable discography as a sideman with Joe Henderson, Claudio Roditi, Slide Hampton, and Louis Hayes (among others), while his work as a leader has been consistently rewarding as well. After working frequently with a trio on his own recordings, he expanded to a quartet with the addition of masterful guitarist (and fellow countryman) Romero Lubambo, plus bassist Scott Colley and drummer Ernesto Simpson. Alves opens with Lubambo's driving "Sweeping the Chimney," which is highlighted by terrific solos all around and an engaging theme. The leader contributed several originals, including the unusual, rather abstract "Helium," in which Alves' piano lines seem to float in unpredictable ways. Alves also explores the works of several Brazilian greats, including an intimate, romantic arrangement of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Falando de Amor," a relaxing setting of Luis Ecca's "The Dolphin" (a favorite of Stan Getz and Denny Zeitlin), and a sparkling duet with Lubambo of Jaco Do Bandolim's "Doce de Coco." Highly recommended.

It's Clear - Helio Alves, Helio Alves
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