JazzTimes (p.104) - "ALMA is clearly a labor of love for the prolific and inventive Neto, who reflects the spirit and magic of Brazil's Northeast with exquisite beauty and playfulness.'
Personnel: Jovino Santos Neto (flute, fife, melodica, piano); Perambuco (vocals); Josemen Honaine (10-string guitar); Carlos Malta (flute, fife, woodwinds, soprano saxophone); Marcelo Martins (flute, woodwinds, saxophone, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Eduardo Neves (flute, woodwinds, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone); Gabriel Grossi (harmonica); Toninho Ferragutti (accordion); Eduardo Nieves (soprano saxophone); Dudu Lima (acoustic bass, acoustic bass guitar, electric bass); Marcio Bahia (drums, snare drum); Durval Pereira, Thiago Da Serrinha (percussion).
Recording information: Tenda Da Raposa Studios, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (08/2007).
Photographer: Jovino Santos Neto.
When it comes to world music, many Americans tend to think the music of a particular country all has a similar vibe, forgetting that different regions of the U.S. gave rise to very distinct genres. Brazilian born, Seattle based composer and keyboardist Jovino Santos Neto offers a tremendous education on the rousing and bright, densely percussive, accordion-laced and highly danceable music found in the Northeast part of his native land. His colorful liner notes qualify his interest as one rooted in the fact that he's a Rio-born grandson of "Nordestinos" and informs us that a generous grant allowed him and his wife Luzia to take an 800 mile journey to the heart of the region. Composing new songs and remaking older ones he had written that fit perfectly into the project's theme, the versatile musician (who, in addition to piano, plays melodica, fifes, and flute) creates a fascinating musical interpretation of the beautiful landscapes (the lyrical and graceful "Fulo Sertaneja"); the mythological importance of the ox (the strutting, sax driven "Donkey Xote"); the creativity, humor, accent and hospitality of the people (the celebratory, accordion-jumping "Festa Na Macuca"), and the coexistence of the medieval themes within the visionary and fantastic realism of the cordei literature sold at street markets. There are also a few cool odes to the way the grape made the couple feel: the lilting, lighthearted "Amoreira" (which translates to "Raspberry Vine") and the punchy, sax-driven jazz jam "Forro Vino." The music was recorded in Rio with a handful of great Brazilian musicians, and caps all of the celebrating Santos Neto no doubt did after receiving his Latin Grammy nominations in 2004 and 2006. This is a fascinating exploration that's both musically joyous and richly illuminating. ~ Jonathan Widran