Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

  • SoundStage! Shorts - Livio Cucuzza on Audio Research's Industrial Design (November 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Past, Present, and Future (October 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - KEF's New R Series for 2018 (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio Moon 390 Digital/Analog Preamplifier and Streamer (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - EISA 2018-2019 Awards Introduction (August 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio's $118,888 Moon 888 Mono Amplifiers (June 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Totem's Tribe Tower (May 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion's Three Newest Argon Loudspeakers (April 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Making the Hegel Mohican CD Player (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Estelon Lynx Wireless Intelligent Loudspeaker (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh's Five New Solid-State Integrated Amplifiers (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Amphion's Krypton Loudspeaker (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Anthem STR Preamplifier and Power Amplifier (December 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh Laboratory MA252 Integrated Amplifier (November 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Hegel H90 and H190 Integrated Amplifiers (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - How Hegel's SoundEngine Works (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight  - Estelon History and YB and Extreme Loudspeakers (September 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - What Makes Hegel Different? (August 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Estelon Extreme Legacy Edition Loudspeaker (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion Overview and Technologies (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! Insight - Totem Acoustic Signature One Loudspeaker (June 2017)
  • SoundStage! Encore - The Cowboy Junkies'
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Anthem's STR Integrated Amplifier (May 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Paradigm's Perforated Phase Alignment (PPA) Lenses (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Paradigm's Persona 9H Loudspeaker (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Contrasts: Dynaudio's Contour and Focus XD Speaker Lines (February 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - New Technologies in MartinLogan's Masterpiece Series
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Dynaudio/Volkswagen Car Audio (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Gryphon Philosophy and the Kodo and Mojo S Speakers (January 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- What's a Tonmeister? (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - AxiomAir N3 Wireless Speaker System (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 90 (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Gryphon Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Dynaudio History and Driver Technology (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - The Story How Gryphon Began (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Devialet History, ADH Technology, and Expert 1000 Pro (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Devialet's Phantom Loudspeakers (August 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh Home Theater and Streaming Audio (July 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh MC275 Stereo Amplifier (June 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh History and Autoformer Technology (June 2016)

Jovino Santos NetoAdventure Music AM1063 2
Format: CD

Musical Performance ****
Sound Quality ****1/2
Overall Enjoyment ****


The Brazilian pianist Jovino Santos Neto, who has lived and worked in the US since 1993, has recorded duet CDs with Weber Iago (Live at Caramoor, 2008) and label mate Mike Marshall (Serenata, 2003). Veja O Som pairs the pianist with 20 musicians, including Marshall, for this two-disc collection, with one disc recorded in Brazil and the other in the US. Santos Neto and Richard Zirinsky Jr., the executive producer of the disc and owner of Adventure Music, each chose the musicians who appear here. The idea for the set was Zirinsky’s because, as he told Santos Neto, “what the world needed at that stage of extreme global uncertainty was the reassurance of one-on-one human warmth and interaction.”

According to Santos Neto in his eloquent liner notes, “As the ensemble size diminishes, both the level of commitment to the moment and the depth of the listening focus increase considerably.” The conversations between musicians on this set cross styles and musical temperaments, and each of the players depends on the other for support during improvisational flights. While the US disc includes its share of American musicians, the majority of the players are Latin American, as are most of the compositions. The compositions are harmonically and rhythmically varied and challenging, and those qualities make for an excitingly paced set.

Tenor saxophonist David Sanchez joins the pianist for a spirited and soulful version of “Aquelas Coisas Todas (All of Those Things)” by Brazilian guitarist Toninho Horta. The recording pulls you close to the musicians, and Santos Neto’s harmonically rich chording resonates vibrantly in the soundstage. The recording engineer, David Lange, also catches Sanchez’s elegantly gritty reed work. Santos Neto and Mike Marshall play off each other beautifully on “Santa Morena (Dark-Skinned Saint)” by the great Brazilian mandolin player and composer Jacob Bittencourt. Marshall switches between mandolin and mandocello, and the deep warmth of the latter instrument seems to wrap itself around Santos Neto’s expansive piano lines.

Veja O Som offers a clear display of Jovino Santos Neto’s virtuosity. The pairings with so many different musicians show both his technical abilities and his emotional and stylistic range. He’s a subtle and unobtrusive accompanist to the four singers -- the track with Paula Morelenbaum is especially delicate and beautiful. The disc also has a pleasing variety of tones and textures, from the softness of Teco Cardoso’s flutes to the throatiness of David Sanchez’s saxophone. Bill Frisell’s ringing guitar tones move beautifully with Santos Neto’s sustained piano chords, but my favorite pairing might be João Donato’s electric piano and Santos Neto’s melodica.

The recordings, from seven studios, are uniformly excellent, and Ken Lee has mastered them seamlessly. But the disc isn’t perfect. Gretchen Parlato’s vocal on Jobim’s “Insensatez (How Insensitive)” is perhaps underpowered, and the title track takes a few listens before it falls into place. That said, Veja O Som meets Zirinsky’s goal for Santos Netos. It’s a reassuring, hopeful disc.

. . . Joseph Taylor