Antonio Valdetaro e Grupo Letícia

Brazilian jazz guitarist Antonio Valdetaro, who has played since the '80s and has worked with Paulinho da Viola, tells his passionate Rio stories through the guitar and its melodic agility. Valdetaro's band feature top-notch players on sax and flute, drums and bass (electric and some acoustic), including some guests, evident on swinging progressions like the incredible forro-bodo-style guitar and horn woven into "Concorrência Desleal," or saxophone-drenched tension builder "Bossa Louca." These mingle with carefree, even humorous tunes like "Urublues Malandro" and playful dialogues between drums and melody on "Tradição." Of them all, "Deixa Estar," which is very well-written, with a rare flugelhorn solo, best shows off Valdetaro's arrangements: nimble and stylish, with more than enough layers for repeat listens. "Letícia," a dreamy, beaches-of-Rio-evoking bossa nova number, should enthuse those seeking an active bossa artist whose music recalls and celebrates the form at its peak. (Independent)