Born: May 1, 1962
ANTONIO VALDETARO launches “Leticia”, his first CD The guitarist, along with his band, just launched the first album with his own composition. An excellent guitarist, Antonio Valdetaro is also an untiring traveler. Nevertheless, he is a traveler with a unique character: the type who falls in love for the new and the different that dwells in each place. He is a lover who renders himself affectionately to the unexpected and settles himself there. That was the case when he settled residency in Europe after touring through Portugal, France, Germany and Spain. And it was not different when this musician from Niteroi (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) decided to live in Brazilian cities other than his hometown Niteroi Rio de Janeiro: Salvador, Belo Horizonte and São Paulo, where he has been living since 1999...
Antonio Valdetaro & Grupo - Leticia
A nice recording for us in Chicago, with winter fast approaching, guitarist Antonio Valdetaro's Leticia comes to us from his Rio home base, but this breezy Brazilian jazz album brings a bit of a surprise in its emphasis on the jazz half of the equation. Perhaps it is to be expected from a musician who has lived in Spain, France and Portugal and studied with Barney Kessell and Kurt Rosenwinkel. Valdetaro's guitar playing straddles the line between his Brazilian heritage and jazz heritage, creating a bright fusion of styles that recalls his mentors as well as Pat Metheny in his warm tonal coloring. He is ably assisted by fine electric bassist Roberto Carvalho, keyboardist Fabio Leandro, saxophonist/flautist Josue dos Santos and drummer Pepa D'Elia in his core group. They are augmented by guest musicians, including Rubinho Antunes, who adds fiery trumpet on Moca Bonita and flugelhorn on Deixa Estar. Lenadro and dos Santos show a command of the material and contribute tasty work, while Carvalho's upper-register bass solos at times sound like a second guitarist is in the band. Much of the music is up-tempo and vibrant, but the title track (written for Valdertaro's wife) is a beautiful slow dance for lovers everywhere. A nice way to warm up on a cold night.
Review written by: Ian Mann from the Jazz Mann
A warm, bright, melodic album Unmistakably jazz but with an authentic Brazilian flavour
This self released recording by the Brazilian guitarist Antonio Valdetaro has been forwarded to the Jazz Mann office all the way from Sao Paolo. The liner notes may be entirely in Portugese making translation difficult for your monoglot reviewer but music is an international language and there are some fine sounds to be heard on this CD.
Valdetaro was born in the city of Niteroi near Rio De Janeiro but travelled to Europe to study music, firstly in Lisbon and later in Barcelona. He also gigged extensively on the continent before returning to Brazil and settling in Sao Paolo. Valdetaro’s guitar teachers during his European sojourn included Barney Kessell and Kurt Rosenwinkel. This gives you some idea as to where this record is coming from. Although Valdetaro and his group make use of Brazilian rhythms and styles-samba, bossa, choro etc.- this is primarily a jazz record. For European and American listeners there are parallels with the breezy Brazilian influenced music of Pat Metheny. Valdetaro has a warm, singing tone sometimes reminiscent of Metheny, at other times he sounds more conventionally “jazzy” like his mentor Kessel. This is a warm, bright album, entirely instrumental and unmistakably jazz but with a wholly authentic Brazilian flavour.
Valdetaro deploys a core group of himself on guitar plus Fabio Leandro on piano and keyboards, Roberto Carvalho on electric bass, Jose dos Santos on saxophones and flute and Pepa D’Elia at the drums. Guest appearances come from Rubinho Antunes on trumpet and flugel, Sidiel Vieira on double bass and drummers Adriano Trindade and the late Ary Dias (1944-2008) who sadly died just after this album was completed. All are highly accomplished players who are given frequent opportunities to shine on a programme of nine Valdetaro original compositions.
The album commences with the lively “Segura e Sai”, a spirited opener that introduces Valdetaro’s smooth tone and fluent technique. With his jazzy chording and single note single solo lines it’s immediately obvious that he’s a supremely skilled jazz guitarist. Bassist Carvalho also reveals his credentials as a soloist with a fleeting, liquid solo in his instrument’s higher register and there’s a similarly impressive burst from Leandro at the piano.
“Bossa Louca” features a guest appearance from Trindade at the drums. No prizes for guessing the style here but the melody is languid and memorable with a hint of Metheny about it. Valdetaro’s guitar is warm and conversational and there are also impressive contributions from Carvalho and from dos Santos on sax.
“Concorrencia Desleal” pairs Valdetaro’s guitar with dos Santos’ effervescent flute and soprano sax on a joyous piece subtly propelled by Carvalho’s sinuous bass undertow and D’Elia’s understated but energetic drumming. Excellent.
“Tradicao” incorporates the contribution of the late Ary Dias who provides the pattering backdrop for excellent solos from Valdetaro, Leandro on piano and Dos Santos on saxophone. Dias also gets to enjoy a few drum breaks himself before the track’s close.
The title track features Valdetaro on both acoustic and electric guitars with Sidiel Vieria coming in on acoustic bass. The tone is laid back and conversational, almost ballad like but with a gentle samba rhythm. When dos Santos’ warm sounding saxophone enters the proceedings the listener is reminded of Stan Getz’s excursions into Brazilian music during the samba/bossa boom of the sixties. Urublues Malandro” is quietly funky but in a uniquely Brazilian way and features solos from Valdetaro, Leandro on electric piano and dos Santos on saxophone.
Deixa Estar” is a coolly languid ballad that features guest performer Rubinho Antunes on velvety flugel horn. Valdetaro makes his now customary eloquent contribution with a couple of tasteful solos.
Antunes switches to trumpet for the more up tempo “Moca Bonita” and produces a fluent, agile solo on the instrument. Carvalho and Leandro display similar qualities on electric bass and piano respectively.
The closing “Cancao da Geraes” is a showcase for guitar and saxophone Valdetaro and dos Santos (on soprano) both delivering expressive solo statements. D’Elia, who is tasteful and sympathetic throughout enjoys a brief solo interlude at the drums.
“Leticia” is a warm, melodic, accessible album with some fine ensemble playing and some distinguished soloing, particularly from Valdetaro itself. Occasionally things can be a little too tasteful and tend towards the bland but there is still plenty to enjoy here. On a cold, dank November day in England Valdetaro’s warm, sunny Brazilian music.
Review written by: Skoot Larson from Skoot's Jazz
Leticia - an Improvised Trip to Brasil
Antonio Valdetaro’s new CD, “Leticia,” is a brilliant reminder that jazz music is alive and well in Brazil. In the 1960s and ‘70s, Brazilian jazz became a part of the American pop scene. Many of that South American nation’s best players and composers came to the U.S. to mix their native Bossa Nova into the North American jazz culture and sound.
While most Americans are content to dig the expats in our midst, dedicated musicians like guitarist Antonio Valdetaro and his “Grupo” are playing real and pure Brazilian jazz in their native Rio de Janiero. The Grupo consisting of pianist Fábio Leandro, reedman Josué dos Santos on alto sax and flute, the entrancing electric bass work of Roberto Carvalho, and Pepa D’Elia keeping a steady, solid drum beat. Valdetaro also plays some violão on this Brazilian issued compact disc.
Young guest musicians are showcased on some of the cuts, including trumpeter Rubinho Antunes, Sidiel Vieira playing contrabass, and Adriano Trindade, pictured at a set of drums in the liner notes, but listed as a saxophonist. One older mentor, the late Ary Dias, guests as a percussionist.
The musical program kicks of with “Segura e Sal,” a fast-moving pace-setter for Valdetaro’s skilled hands. The sixteen-bar bridge ascends for its first half, then retraces the progression back down to the original theme. Bassist Carvalho contributes a couple righteous choruses of quick string work into the instruments higher range. Carvalho’s solo here moves with an agility more like guitar than the larger electric bass.
The title tune, “Leticia,” proves a fine showcase for Valdetaro’s guitar. Right from the solo intro-cadenza of runs and progressions, this haunting melody grabs attention. The piano and bass sneak in behind the guitar line for eight bars before Valdetaro’s guitar is joined by D’Elia’s drumbeat and the alto sax of dos Santos’ to state the unfolding midtempo melody. “Leticia” features excellent solo work by both alto sax and guitar.
A special favorite is “Concorréncia Desleal.” This melodic line moves like a speeding locomotive driven by unison guitar and flute. dos Santos plays a masterful flute to accompany Valdetaro’s guitar on the melody, but later does his solo work on soprano sax, followed by some very tasty piano improv by Leandro.
On two of the tracks, “Deixa Estar” and “Moça Bonita,” guest trumpet man Rubinho Antunes joins Valdetaro and the Grupo. Antunes has a nice, fat trumpet tone, almost sounding like a flugelhorn on his solo passages, and blending nicely with the guitar on the melodies.
Antonio Valdetaro has assembled a very fine group of high-caliber musicians on this recording, and Valdetaro is an extremely creative and interesting improviser providing superb guitar work throughout the session.
The liner notes for this CD are all in Portuguese, which are difficult to follow with a limited knowledge of that language. Possibly a U. S. version could be marketed in America to aid in the enjoyment of this fine musical work?
“Leticia” is published independently in Brasil, and can be purchase here in the U.S. through Amazon.com and cduniverse.com. If you’re a fan of the Bossa Nova rhythms, this CD is a “must have” in your collection. And, “Leticia” is well worth the price even if you just like swinging, well-constructed jazz.
Review written by: Raul da Gama from Latin Jazz Network
What stands out immediately about this record Leticia is the ebullient mood that is struck with the first few notes of “Segura e Sai.” From then on the music gets busier but retains its sense of “alegria.” A warning, however: it pays not to me misled by the nature of the tracks that flow one after the other. Valdetaro and his group do a fine job of masking the true complexity of the songs. On “Concorrencia Desleal” for instance, the Forrobodo form is exquisitely captured by the guitarist, who plays linear, flowing lines as the saxophone of Josue dos Santos weaves interesting contrapuntal melodies into the song. This is just a glimpse of what Valdetaro is capable of and showcases on the record.
The guitar and indeed stringed instruments play a featured melodic role in South American music. Guitarists such as Baden Powell, Luis Bonfa and Oscar Castro-Neves and many others opened up myriad harmonic possibilities as bossa nova and other idioms have become more widespread. But the key to maintaining the core values of rhythm and syncopation while enriching harmony have been a challenge to those to whom virtuosity is given. Thus Antonio Valdetaro faces challenges in composition and performance. The trick is to stay away from trite imagery and keep the music fresh and new.
On Leticia, Antonio Valdetaro manages to do much of this on his own. His compositions, while staying close to tradition, push hard at expanding the forms. The guitarist has an interesting vocal touch and, as he shows on “Leticia” is capable of writing music that recalls the heyday of Brasilian music. “Urublues Malandro” shows that Valdetaro does not shy away from employing humor and irony in his music as well. “Deixa Estar” features some wonderful writing that is good as any of the fine music that Caetano Veloso produced. Rubinho Antunes executes a warm and round, brassy flugelhorn solo, which is quite unusual for that type of horn.
There is a touch of Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd in the record and this is understandable as those two stellar musicians practically redefined bossa nova for audiences in the United States. It is quite possible that this record by Antonio Valdetaro and Grupo may have a similar effect. It is sometimes a pity that the industry has not kept pace with artistic development and chooses marketing gymnastics over artistic merit. On a different field this record might have made a somewhat greater impact on audiences in North America.
Tracks: Segura e Sai; Bossa Louca; Concorrência Deslea (p/ Guinga); Tradição (p/Paulinho Da Viola); Leticia; Urublues Malandro; Deixa Estar; Moça Bonita; Canção da Geraes.
Personnel: Antonio Valdetaro: violao and guitars; Fabio Leandro: piano; Josue dos Santos: saxophones and flutes; Pepa D’Elia: drums; Roberto Carvalho: electric bass. Special Guests: Adriano Trindade: drums (2); Ary Dias: drums (4); Rubinho Antunes: trumpet (8) and flugelhorn (7); Sidiel Viera: acoustic bass (5).
Latin Jazz Network
Review By: Randy Hunter www.randyhunterjazz.com
When I received Antonio Valdetaro's new CD in the mail, I knew I was in for a cultural experience. Since all of the song titles and liner notes included with the group's new disc, “Leticia,” are in Portuguese, I had to rely on my ear for the musical translation. I must add that this was quite a treat.
The disc features an enjoyable mix of authentic Brazilian styles from Samba to Bossa. One of the selections, “Urublues Malandro,” even has a bit of a unique Brazilian funk feel to it. It is also notable that all of the tunes are original compositions by Valdetaro, adding to the authenticity of the project.
The performances are tight, energetic, and soulful, with outstanding solos by each member of the group. Particularly notable are the contributions of Valdetaro himself, and of saxophonist, Josué dos Santos.
This collection of eight selections is highly recommended. Valdetaro's website offers further insight in both Portuguese and English into the life and music of the composer, and information on where to purchase the disc. So with that being said, purchase a copy and prepare for the cultural experience offered by the finest of Brazilian music.
Review by Ralph A Miriello - Jazz.com Antonio Valdetaro: Bossa Louca
Carry yourself off to Rio with this self-produced Brazilian offering by guitarist Antonio Valdetaro and his group. “Bossa Louca” is a loosely-played bossa that captures the easy swaying feel of this delightful, regionally inspired music. Electric bassist Carvalho contributes an accomplished solo which leads into a melody statement by guitar and saxophone. Valdetaro’s style is carefree, tasteful and loose capturing the laid back feel of a balmy tropical breeze. Saxophonist Josué dos Santos, with his ultra-polished tone, recreates his own brand of Getz-ian cool. Sit back, close your eyes and enjoy being transported for a moment by the captivating rhythms of Valdetaro’s Brazil. Don’t worry, D’Elia’s bateria adds just enough punctuation at the coda to stir you out of your trance.