Alfredo Dias Gomes – A Tribute to Don Alias


Born in Rio de Janeiro, Alfredo Dias Gomes first started playing instrumental music professionally when he was 18, playing at Hermeto Pascoal’s band. He recorded the album Cérebro Magnético and performed countless shows, with highlights at the II São Paulo Jazz Festival and Rio Monterrey Festival. Alfredo has played and recorded with several important instrumental musicians. Tribute a Don Alias is his seventh solo album. His full discography dates clear back to 1985 including six previous titles, all which qualify him and then some for the task of taking on the legendary work of Don Alias.

It’s hard to know what you’re going to get unless you’re used to an artist, especially if they’re playing the music of someone you don’t even know. It’s best to hear it chronologically, but in the case of some they don’t have that opportunity. If not, consider a release like this one as an introduction to Don Alias. You’ll find that it’s done with complete faith to the original if you’re a fan of it as well. You will also want to go back and listen to more of both if you’re new to them. You get the best of both worlds just like any good tribute is made of. It puts you onto one or both-of the artists at hand, and whoever else is playing on it. These renditions all feature Windor Santiago, as well as a fine ensemble backing Alfredo Dias Gomes. They play together like magic on every note of this CD. “Georgia O” begins the set with a subtle approach compared to some of the rest of the chosen tracks, but it does pick up enough to pump you into the next track. It’s “Sweetie-Pie” that really gets the show on the road. No turning back after that if you like jazz, but you likely do if you get wind of this album or you keep up with Gomes’ music in general. It comes recommended for the musicianship put into their interpretation of the songs.

It has always been a challenge describing jazz music because the song can go anywhere, there are no rules. And they even go outside some of the patterns to distinguish their own sound without cheapening the originals any. That is just one reason to give everyone high marks for putting in grand efforts. “Samba De Negro” proves it and so does the follow-up efforts on “Creepin’” with everything they’ve got behind it. This isn’t a pedestrian record, nor is it an overly smooth production. It goes in enormously satisfying directions. And that’s saying the least, it shouldn’t fall on deaf ears, especially jazz ones. “Uncle Jemima” is one of the mellower pieces but also one of the best studio performances by the entire ensemble. They display so much heart and soul on this you forget it’s even a song. It just cooks along so warmly it’s like floating on a breeze of notes. “Vaya Mulotto” boils the temperature even hotter, showcasing some of their tightest playing on offer. “On The Foot Peg” answers back with a mid-tempo vibe that keeps the interest high enough to stay for the closing and most spectacular part of the tribute. The “Solo” which speaks for everything, and Alfredo Dias Gomes himself, as he pays respect to his hero.


Mike Tabor