Pianist Antonio Adolfo started out as a bossa nova player in the mid-60s with his out Trio 3-D outfit. But hearing records like “Watermelon Man” and “Cantaloupe Island” by Herbie Hancock, changed his course in music. Even more so after a brief stint of studying jazz in the USA in the early 70s. From there, he also started adopting styles including tropicalia, funk, fusion, easy-listening, and MPB into his music, as also heard on Viralata.
“Viralata has always been popular in dance clubs in Brazil and abroad,” Antonio Adolfo tells Tracklib. “Certainly due to its grooves combined with a strong ‘brazilliance’ inherited in the compositions, arrangements, and the interpretations by all musicians.”
“I’ve always liked Herbie’s more popular tunes, like ‘Watermelon Man,’ and ‘Cantaloupe Island — the more danceable tunes,” Antonio told JAZZIZ Magazine in 2019. Parallel to that, that explains how “Cascavel,” the opening song of his 1979 jazz-funk LP Viralata, turned into a classic club anthem over a decade later. In the early 90s, Far Out Recordings label head Joe Davis discovered a handful of copies in a second-hand shop in São Paulo and brought them back to London to sell to DJs like Gilles Peterson and Patrick Forge. Particularly the song “Cascavel” took a life of its own in iconic clubs including London’s Plastic People, and in the decades to come through DJ sets by the likes of Floating Points, Mr. Scruff, and Andrew Ashong.
In Antonio Adolfo’s own words, Viralata is “a product of my hybrid musical influences that joins together flavours of marchinhas de carnaval, frevo, toada, classical, baião, MPB, jazz, et cetera.” The album was produced by the legendary sound designer Toninho Barbosa, who is often called ‘the Brazilian Rudy Van Gelder.’
That makes the record as essential and forward-thinking as other key Barbosa-produced releases such as Azymuth’s Light As a Feather (1979) and 1973's Quem É Quem by Brazilian pianist João Donato. “From the late 60s to early 70s onwards, Brazilian releases started to groove more and more, which was one of the reasons [producers and] DJs called in love for those fusion possibilities,” explains Antonio Adolfo.
Aside from Adolfo on electric piano, the songs feature bass player Jamil Joanes, drummer Téo Lima, guitarist Hélio Capucci, and trumpet player Bidinho, the latter of whom has worked with other Brazilian icons including Tim Maia, Jorge Ben, and Gilberto Gil.
“[Sampling] is a great reunion of the past, present, and future. Music is forever!”
His song “Sá Marina” (Pretty World) gained international success, with covered versions by artists including Sérgio Mendes & Brasil '66, Stevie Wonder, Herb Alpert, Earl Klugh, and Dionne Warwick. With dozens of awards and a range of acclaimed records such as Samba Jazz Alley (named after the iconic jazz club Bottles Alley in Rio de Janeiro; “the birthplace of Brazilian jazz.”) and Feito em Casa. To this day, Antonio Adolfo continues to spread Brazilian jazz into the world. Also through an open outlook on sampling: “[Sampling] is a great reunion of past, present, and future. Music is forever!”
We are unfortunately unable to offer support in the comments. If you have any questions, reach out to us here!