On Tribute To Don Alias, Alfredo Dias Gomes’ drums are followed by a band composed by Widor Santiago (tenor sax), Yuval Ben Lior (guitar), Lulu Martin (keyboards) and BervalMoraes (bass). The album also includes participation from Marco Lobo, who was part of some of MPB’s most influential bands, having worked with Milton Nascimento, Maria Bethania, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Marisa Monte, Lenine, Virgínia Rodrigues, and others, aside from developing several projects along with the drummer Billy Cobham. Don Alias will forever be recognized for his work at the vanguard of the fusion movement.He played with Dizzy Gillespie, Nina Simone, JacoPatorius, David Sanborn, and Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Pat Metheny, Jack DeJohnette, and many others. Because Alfredo Dias Gomes can play with the likes of them all. He holds his own at all-of the tracks and does a spot-on percussion job. It’s almost spooky how close it sounds to the originals but with a Gomes slant you can really-only notice if you’re already familiar with this music and the flavors cleverly applied to it. With the amount of world class players in the band it’s beyond cool to hear them all nail their parts.
The album kicks off in mid-gear with “Georgia O” and while there is no mistaking this number if you know it, the band and Gomes put their magic all over it without skipping a beat. The same follows but with some funkier feel on “Sweetie-Pie” with its urban jazz flavor which gives the band a chance to shine. This has a big sound that bring it into the current landscape without forcing any bells and whistles upon it. The jazz guitar is so slinky it’s contagious. You don’t hear this kind of thing every day anymore, and that’s why you don’t hear it covered either. It’s a time testament for Don Alias.
“Samba De Negro” is as down and dirty as it gets, sticking closely in the horn pocket, but the percussion is so dazzling you can see why he chose to include this song. This is pure jazz with a capital J, with the drums responding to the horns in terrific improvisational fashion. The congas kick up and it’s pretty much over. This is absolutely-brilliant and there’s no arguing that. The next track is “Creepin” which slows the groove down to a soothing pace and lets it all hang out just in time for it. There’s more than enough by now to call it good but it’s not over yet, because Alfredo Dias Gomes hasn’t had his moment under the sun yet.
“VayaMulotto” is next with some up-front drumming for once, as it seems to take a bigger role from here out. This is one of the most traditional jazz cuts on the album. The guitar once again gets cooking here with a blazing solo which is countered by the featured horn in unison. “On The Foot Peg” is smooth jazz at its finest and likely the most accessible track on the album. It makes way for the finale which is a ‘Solo” dedicated to DA where you’re treated to almost four minutes of pure ear candy on the drums. It’s the best way to take out an uber-tribute to one of the finest jazz drummers of all time.