Jackson do Pandeiro – Sua Majestade, O Rei do Ritmo (1960)

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Jackson do Pandeiro
“Sua Majestade – O Rei do Ritmo”
Copacabana records, 1960

1 Forró em Caruaru (Ze Dantas)

2 Cabo Tenório (Rosil Cavalcanti)

3 O canto da ema (João doVale – Alventino Cavalcanti – Ayres Vianna)

4 Sebastiana (Rosil Cavalcanti)

5 Cremilda (Edgar Ferreira)

6 Coco de improviso (Alventino Cavalcanti – Edson Menezes – Jackson do Pandeiro)

7 Xote de Copacabana (José Gomes)

8 A mulher do Anibal (N. de Paula – Genival Macêdo)

9 Um a um (Edgar Ferreira)

10 Coco social (Rosil Cavalcanti)

11 Falsa patroa (Geraldo Jacques – Isaías de Freitas)

12 O crime não compensa (Eleno Clemente – Genival Macêdo)

This long-player, which by all appearances seems to be a collection of the many singles put out by Jackson do Pandeiro in the decade or so before 1960, quite a few of them on 78s. Save Chiclete com Banana, most of his biggest hits are here, and it’s an incredibly fun listen. It is also one of the only releases from him you will find on CD besides a few anthologies. This is at least partly do the fact that Jackson recorded for at least four or five different labels during his career, and a lot of his output was in the form of singles. Hopefully someday there will be a boxset deserving of this huge figure in Brazilian music. Along with Luiz Gonzaga, he is a master of the genre of forró, but also known for his interpretations of ‘samba de coco’ — traditionally a type of samba found in the sertão or backlands of Pernambuco and Paraíba, accompanied by hand-claps and group call and response singing, but reinvented by Jackson into an ensemble setting. The guy just oozed musicality out of his pores. The style of syncopation he injected into his music is credited with transforming Brazilian music, changing the way musicians and composers were rhythmically approaching their material. I can believe it.

Whereas, Luiz Gonzaga – the undisputed king of the baião ballad and sort of the ambassador of forró “pé de serra” style – was in a way more of a curator of the rich, musical and cultural heritage of the northeast (my opinion, feel free to dispute it), Jackson do Pandeiro was forging new sounds and textures, or as the music-writers’ cliché would have it, “pushing the boundaries” of the genre(s). This is not meant to be a dig against Luiz Gonzaga: I adore him and his musical legacy, but there is a real way in which that legacy has become almost a stand-in for the culture itself, and Gonzaga was deliberately “reinventing tradition” to promote a previously devalorized part of the country. But Jackson, man, Jackson do Pandeiro was as ‘modern’ as any bossa nova, as charismatic and tempestous a stage presence as any rocker. Even if he wasn’t jumping around the stage, his performances would leap off of it and into your consciousness.
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Why does Almira look so scared and horrified?
I’ll tell you.
It’s because Jackson do Pandeiro was an unstoppable rhythm machine. And, he was dancing right next to her.

Here is a bio of Jackson do Pandeiro from cliquemusic, translated by yours truly for your enjoyment:

BIO from CLIQUEMUSIC, translated by Flabbergast

Born in the interior of Paraíba, his first wish was to play the accordion. But since that instrument was very expensive, his parents gave him a pandeiro (tambourine). His mother was a singer of coco, and played the zabumba and ganzá. At 13 years-old he moved with his family to Campina Grande, where he worked at odd jobs and began to pay attention to the singers of coco and the guitar-playing minstrals at the open markets and fairs. It was in this city where his first stage name emerged, Jack, influenced by North American Westerns that he would watch at the cinema. In the 1940s he moved on to João Pessoa, where he played in cabares and on radio stations. Much later he went to Recife, Pernambuco, and it was there at the Rádio Jornal do Comércio that he definitively adopted the name Jackson do Pandeiro. In 1953 he recorded his first hits: “Sebastiana” (Rosil Cavalcanti) and “Forró em Limoeiro” (Edgar Ferreira). Three years later he married Almira, who would become his partner during performances. In the same year they moved to Rio de Janeiro, and Jackson was contracted by Rádio Nacional, where he was a popular and critical success for his way of singing baiões, cocos, rojões, sambas, and marchinhas of carnaval. His influence is felt still today in artists that have rerecorded songs that Jackson made famous, like “O Canto de Ema,” recorded by Lenine (*Flabber note: much better version recorded by Gilberto Gil on Expresso 2222… But I don’t like Lenine at all, he makes me cringe..), “Na Base de Chinela,” by Elba Ramalho,” “Lágrima” by Chico Buarque, or “Um a Um” pelos Paralamas do Sucesso.** An inspired composer and instrumentalist of rare talent, he popularized other classics of Northeastern music, like “Chiclete com Banana” (Gordurinha/Almira Castilho), “Xote de Copacabana” (José Gomes), “17 na Corrente” (Edgar Ferreira / Manoel Firmino Alvez), “Como Tem Zé na Paraíba” (Manezinho Araújo / Catulo de Paula), “Cantiga do Sapo”, “A Mulher do Aníbal”, “Ele Disse” (Edgar Ferreira) and “Forró em Caruaru” (Zé Dantas). In 1998 he was the honored figure at the 11th Prêmio Sharp de Música (Flabber note: I don’t know what this event is…)

** Flabber note: A glaring omission from this list by cliquemusic — “Sebastiana” was recorded by Gal Costa on her 1968 album, and its one of the wildest renditions of anything associated with Jackson do Pandeiro.

*** An even more glaring omission is Gilberto Gil’s version of CHICLETE COM BANANA, which is still performed by him frequently. Along with O Canto de Ema recorded by Gil on Expresso 2222, these songs were my first exposure to Jackson.

**** Flabber note: This brief bio also does not mention that Jackson became involved with the same religous sect, Cultural Racional, that had Tim Maia recording his wonderfully looney masterpiece(s) of funk in 1975. The album of Jackson’s where the Racional philosophy gets reflected most is titled “Alegria Minha Gente” from 1978 and as far as I know has never received a CD release.
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HAVE A LOOK AND A LISTEN!!!

SEBASTIANA – A fantastic song, also great for practicing your vowel sounds (and sometimes epsilon)

CHICLETE COM BANANA

This clip of “Chiclete Com Banana” is a rather odd piece compiled by someone wanting to make a statement about the Americanization of Brazilian culture, splicing in old footage of films and carnaval and cartoons. It may or my not have something to do with cineaste Jose Nelson, I don’t know, I can’t figure it out.. I like it though. And keep an eye out for a George Bush playing percussion!

Clip of a documentary made by TV Cultura — sign the petition to get this shown in full!

And more — A Globo documentary (using some clips from the TV Cultura one, incidentally), just the first bit

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