More than most idioms Brazilian music has a way of sucking non-Brazilian musicians into its rhythmic, harmonic, melodic and textural vortices – aided by the dominant mood being irrepressible optimism. Once it really gets under their skin they tend to be lost causes. When it comes to the prime purveyors of optimism and effervescence in contemporary music, Exhibit A would surely be the brilliant Italian jazz pianist Stefano Bollani, whose love affair with Brazilian music has already included his enchanting duo with the bandolim player Hamilton de Holanda (who guests here).
He recorded Que Bom in Rio with an all-Brazilian line-up, penning most of the compositions himself, including such gems as Certe Giornate Al Mare, on which he perfectly marries his gift for diaphanous beauty with his parallel flair for vivacity. He has also become a lyricist (in both Italian and Portuguese), setting La Nebbia a Napoli (sung by Caetano Veloso) just against his own piano and the elegiac cello of Jacques Morelenbaum. More often the instrumentation involves two breezy percussionists, drums, bass and that piano of his that can sing with such a light heart you sometimes wonder if the whimsy does not mask a deeper sadness.