BOSSA NA PRESSÃO - HAROLDO MAURO JR. TRIO
CD review by José Domingos Raffaelli
"Bossa na Pressão" (Delira Música) is a release long awaited for by admirers of pianist Haroldo Mauro Jr., in the lofty company of Sergio Barrozo (bass) and Duduka da Fonseca (drums). Contrary to most independent productions, Haroldo had the good sense of recording with a fixed trio, with no guests, solidifying the ensemble unit conception, which works as a single cell, perfectly integrated and in continuous interaction. Mauro, Sergio and Duduka have many musical affinities. Mauro played uncounted for times with Duduka in New York, where he lived for nineteen years, developing an almost telepathic understanding, and have been performing with Sergio in clubs and concerts.
Haroldo began his piano studies at age six, at eleven moved on to the trumpet, and later learned guitar and drums. From fifteen on he delved into jazz and bossa-nova secrets, beginning his professional career playing in bars and festivals. At eighteen became a member of the Victor Assis Brasil sextet and then drummer Edison Machado's legendary quartet, with which he recorded the album "Obras II: O Pulo do Gato". He also plyed with Edson Maciel, Paulo Moura, Elza Soares, Eliana Pittman and brothers Marcos e Paulo Sergio Valle, among others. He took a turn to play drums in the trio of pianist Tenorio Jr. and after that formed his own group. Moved to the US in 1972 to study at Berklee College of Music, in Boston, where he had the opportunity to play with Joe Lovano, Andy LaVerne, Harvey Swartz, Billy Drews, John Scofield and Brian Torff, among many others, gathering valuable experience. After nineteen years in the US he returned to Brazil, where he is very active and teaches at the University of Rio de Janeiro (Unirio).
In a time when many pianists are greeted and praised due to their highly developed skills, Haroldo is an exception, since he is averse to outburts, although he is no less proficient. He excels through self-control of his music concentration, improvisations impregnated with form and structure, supreme good taste and strong feeling, besides the inherent and essential swing while performing. His qualities spring at each moment, his talent is undeniable. He is an improviser who exploits the melodic-harmonic aspects of each tune with emotion, nuances and subtleties. He rejects clichés. In his discourse nothing is predictable or programmed. Everything issues from his imagination, retaining the essential and discarding the superfluous.
The mixed repertoire gather compositions by Haroldo ("Rua Juquiá", "Leda", "Quietude", "Terra de Angara" and "Lelé do Coração"); Raul Mascarenhas ("Sabor Carioca"); Alfredo Cardim ("Big Sur"); Tom Jobim ("Caminhos Cruzados", "Você Vai Ver" and "Desafinado") and Carlos Lyra ("Coisa mais Linda"), for which he prepared the arrangings.
The music speaks for itself. Haroldo's articulate solos on "Rua Juquiá", of intense collective swing and four-bar trade with Duduka; "Sabor Carioca", lavishly displaying his accurate technique however free of needless boasting, with a natural swing arising out of his melodic-harmonic explorations; and "Big Sur", developed with fluency and coherence, establish the permanent differences between a conscious musician in full command of his craft and those who play but to show off. Some of his solos develop thematic extensions of his compositions.
"Caminhos Cruzados" and unpretentious "Quietude" confirm his being a master of the art of expressing oneself with fewer notes, enhanced by the introspective character of his touch. "Leda", a five-note melody, is highlighted by the clarity of his touch, evoking the golden years of Beco das Garrafas. Duduka begins "Terra de Angara" by creating high tension poly-rhythmic effects and, following, joins Mauro's piano for the theme exposition. Sergio grant us an articulate solo exhibiting his majestic sound, tuning and intelligent choice of notes. "Lelé do Coração" warrants the trio the opportunity of setting off a genuine and plentiful swing.
Another point that gets our attention is Haroldo's personal approach on standards "Caminhos Cruzados", "Desafinado", "Você Vai Ver" and "Coisa Mais Linda", staying away from commonplace, specially the changes used in the last one.
Haroldo Mauro Jr. continues to refine his art and "Bossa na Pressão" is one of the best releases from the recent past.
José Domingos Raffaelli
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Bossa na pressão - Haroldo Mauro Jr. Trio
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