SSC1671 2022-10-21

Track List

Samba Novo - 5:46
Transition - 6:29
Lilia - 5:46
Montreux - 6:26
Bebe - 6:24
Exodo - 5:14
Viver de amor - 5:59
A correnteza - 2:53
West 83rd Street - 4:35
Dona Maria - 5:21


Vinicius Gomes - guitar
Helio Alves - piano
Gili Lopes - bass
Duduka Da Fonseca - drums

In 2021 after enjoying a Central Park concert, drummer Duduka Da Fonseca met bassist Gili Lopes and guitarist Vinicius Gomes, both of whom said that they wanted very much to play music with him. Da Fonseca felt flattered and suggested putting together a quartet that also included pianist Helio Alves, and Quarteto Universal was born.

Throughout his career, Duduka Da Fonseca has been one of the leaders in performing music that mixed together Jazz with Brazilian rhythms, featuring the most rewarding aspects of both genres. In Gomes, Lopes, and Alves he has found kindred spirits, resulting in the first recording by the group, YES!!!

Each of the ten songs on this release has much to offer. To name a few highlights, “Samba Novo” begins the program with a particularly joyful melody, fluent piano and guitar solos that sound relaxed despite the fast tempo, and a colorful spot for the leader. “Transition” has Da Fonseca inspiring the other musicians with his opening solo and the forcefulness of his interplay. “Lilia” and the sambossa waltz “Bebe” (which builds in passion as it progresses) are particularly sophisticated compositions while “Montreux” and “A Correnteza” are thoughtful and sometimes introspective ballads with subtle but powerful statements from all musicians.

“Êxodo” is a composition worthy of Chick Corea, jazz with a strong Brazilian tinge. The post-bop “Viver De Amor” is filled with inventive playing both in the solos and the ensembles, “West 83rd Street” conveys the flavor of New York while the closing “Dona Maria” has a particularly memorable melody and sounds like a piece that McCoy Tyner would have enjoyed playing.

For this rewarding project, Duduka Da Fonseca saw no reason to excessively emphasize Brazilian rhythms because all four of them have had these rhythms as a natural influence in their music from an early age. Da Fonseca grew up hearing Jazz, Bossa Nova, and Samba Jazz leading to him wanting to blend together these rhythms in equal parts. He started playing the drums when he was 13 and within a year had formed the Bossa Trio. Da Fonseca co-founded and played extensively in his native Rio de Janeiro with the Samba Jazz sextet Mandengo, before he moved to New York in 1975. Since then he has become a legendary drummer who has worked with the who’s who of jazz and Brazilian music including Gerry Mulligan, Phil Woods, Lee Konitz, Kenny Barron, Joanne Brackeen, Herbie Mann, Joe Henderson, Slide Hampton, John Scofield, Wayne Shorter, Tom Harrell, Joe Lovano, Billy Drewes, Kenny Werner, David Sanchez, Harry Allen, Larry Goldings, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Astrud Gilberto, Toninho Horta, Airto Moreira, Claudio Roditi, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Milton Nascimento, Oscar Castro-Neves and countless others. He has led such groups as Brasilian Express, New York Samba Band, the Brazilian Jazz All-Stars, and his own quintet and a Brazilian based trio with David Feldman and Guto Wirtti, in addition to being a founding member and co-leader of Trio da Paz since 1986.

Pianist Helio Alves had a longtime association with Claudio Roditi, worked with Joe Henderson and his list of credits (besides leading seven albums of his own) include Paquito D’Rivera, John Pizzarelli, and Flora Purim & Airto. He has also been part of several of Duduka Da Fonseca’s albums and projects. Guitarist Vinicius Gomes led his first album in 2017 and has collaborated with Seamus Blake, Edu Ribeiro’s trio, Jon Cowherd and accordionist Toninho Ferragutti. Bassist Gili Lopes started playing bass when he was 14, spent many years studying and playing music in Europe, and has performed in 28 countries so far. Gili has played and recorded with legendary Brazilian pianist Dom Salvador, Marcos Valle, Nicolas Folmer and John Crawford.

YES!!! features Duduka Da Fonseca and Quarteto Universal performing music that is boundary pushing, while deeply in touch with their Brazilian heritage. It is an exciting beginning for the Brazilian Jazz super band.