Aug 25, 2011

Concert Review: Sergio Augusto and Tony Moreira

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of hearing bossa nova played right, by guitarist/singer Sergio Augusto, accompanied by keyboardist Tony Moreira. Sergio was a pioneer of the bossa movement, on the scene in Sao Paolo as a teenager in the early 1960s. After a long career in advertising, he is concertizing again. I was able to catch them at Senzala Restaurant in Sunnyvale, California (it's a nice venue where I play a lunch gig every Friday).

But let's talk about the music. Sergio and Tony played the classics - plenty of Jobim and Menescal, but also some bossa-influenced American tunes ("Call Me"), and some bossa versions of oldies ("Blue Moon," "Volare"). The idea was to give the audience a tour of bossa nova, played in pure bossa nova fashion. It was pretty straight ahead that way. Sergio was certainly the right guy to do it. I enjoyed his guitar work - again, very straight ahead, but a model of bossa/samba comping. Nice vocals, too.

For just a duo, Sergio and Tony covered a lot of space. Sergio's arrangements were just right - everything where it should be. Countermelodies and textures that were part of the original compositions, but are omitted from fake books, were tastefully covered by the keyboard. There weren't many improvised solos, but when Tony got the chance, he sounded great. Every so often the arrangements worked in some interesting reharmonizations.

At the suggestion of Lidia, one of the owners of Senzala, I was asked to sit in on "Corcovado" and "Ipanema." A real privilege!

All in all, it was a very enjoyable concert, with a very warm vibe to it. Many thanks to Sergio and Tony, and to Lidia and Wagner at Senzala as well.