Bobbi Humphrey – Blacks and Blues (1974) (24-bit 192 khz)

Bobbi Humphrey
Blacks And Blues
1974 Blue Note BN-LA142-G

Chicago, Damn  6:44
Harlem River Drive  7:24
Just A Love Child  8:21
Blacks And Blues  4:30
Jasper Country Man  5:16
Baby’s Gone  8:47

Recorded at Sound Factory Studios Hollywood, CA
Mastered at The Mastering Lab
Manufactured by United Artists Records, Inc.

Arranged By, Conductor – Larry Mizell
Backing Vocals and vocal arrangements – Fred Perron, Larry Mizell & Fonce Mizell
Clavinet, Trumpet – Fonce Mizell
Composed By – Larry Mizell
Congas – King Errison
Drums – Harvey Mason
Electric Bass  – Chuck Rainey, Ron Brown
Flute, Vocals [Solo] – Bobbi Humphrey
Guitar – David T. Walker, John Rowin
Percussion – Stephanie Spruill
Piano, Electric Piano [Fender Rhodes] – Jerry Peters
Synthesizer [Arp] – Fred Perren

Producer – Chuck Davis, Larry Mizell
Liner Notes – Leonard Brown
Photography By, Art Direction – Bob Cato
Engineer [Recording Assistant] – Chuck Davis, John Arias
Engineer [Recording] – John Mills
Engineer [Remix] – Chuck Davis, John Arias*, John Mills
Design – John Williams
Executive-Producer – George Butler

Notes
Recorded June 7 & 8, 1973 at Sound Factory, Hollywood, California.
Mastered at Mastering Lab, Hollywood, California.
Matrix / Runout (Runout Side 1 etched): 22 BN – LA 142 G – I
Matrix / Runout (Dead Wax Side 1 stamped): TML
Matrix / Runout (Runout Side 2 etched): 22 BN – LA 142 G – 2
Matrix / Runout (Dead Wax Side 2 stamped): TML

RIPPING INFO:
Blue Note BN-LA142-G vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica AT440-MLa cartridge; Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; Audioquest King Cobra cables; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; clicks and pops removed with Click Repair on light settings, manually auditioning the output; further clicks removed with Adobe Audition 3.0; dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.

 

This is one of the best records crafted by the production team of the Mizell Brothers for Blue Note, who also did notable albums for Donald Byrd, Freddie Hubbard, Johnny Hammond (for Salvation Records, a Motown subsidiary), and Gary Bartz, among others.  It was the first of three albums they made with Bobbi Humphrey, and although I’m not completely sure whether or not this was her biggest seller, it certainly put her on the map. The soaring, epic funk of tunes like Harlem River Drive sound deceptively effortless. There’s actually a lot going on there. Bobbi  does some singing on this album too in a girlish but charming voice.  The Mizells crafted their own genre in a way, pushing jazz-funk and soul-jazz into a kind of cinematic disco-jazz, as if all your favorite 2-3 minute instrumentals from Blaxploitation soundtracks were given new, deeper treatments and allowed to stretch out into full-fledged compositions.  Actually this a mediocre analogy for this record, because those constant qualities of blaxploitation film music – the tension of danger or menace – are nowhere to be found here.  There’s still a sense of something exciting going on, but it’s a lot more Summer Breeze than Superfly, I guess.  Pretty much all joyful exuberance here – this is another post I meant to do during the summer, but it’s about to be summer soon enough in the southern hemisphere so maybe I’m early rather than late.   The ensembles found on the Mizell Bros albums were always filled with heavyweights and this one does not disappoint, with stalwart Harvey Mason on the drum kit and the regal King Erisson on congas pinning down the lush soundscapes to solid earth.  Fans of the Arp synthesizer (and who isn’t a fan of the Arp?) won’t be disappointed either as it’s put to great use.  Also don’t be put off by the scrappy condition of the album cover – I lucked out and found an almost Near Mint copy of this in a “previously well-loved” jacket. Hope you enjoy it.

password: vibes


CTI All-Stars – CTI Summer Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl – Live Three (1977)

CTI ALL-STARS
CTI Summer Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl
Live Three
1977 CTI Records – CTI 7078

 

A1 Funkfathers (Stanley Turrentine) 7:46
A2 Cherry (Don Redman, Ray Gilbert) 8:00
B1 Bowl Full O’Blues (Hank Crawford) 7:46
B2 Cherry Red (Joe Turner, Pete Johnson) 4:39
B3 God Bless The Child (Arthur Herzog, Jr., Billie Holiday) 7:02

 

Bass – Ron Carter
Drums – Jack DeJohnette
Flute – Hubert Laws
Guitar – George Benson
Keyboards – Bob James, Deodato*, Johnny Hammond
Percussion – Airto
Saxophone – Grover Washington, Jr., Hank Crawford, Joe Farrell, Stanley Turrentine
Trumpet – Freddie Hubbard
Vibraphone – Milt Jackson
Vocals – Esther Phillips (tracks: B2 to B3)

Album graphic design – Sib Chalawick
Photography By – K’Abe
Producer – Creed Taylor
Recorded By – Wally Heider
Engineer – David Palmer
MC – Leonard Feather, Rick Holmes

Recorded at the Hollywood Bowl by Wally Heider on July 30th, 1972. Mixed at Electric Lady Studios in May 1977.

—————
RIPPING INFO

CTI 7078 vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica AT440-MLa cartridge; Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; Audioquest King Cobra cables; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; clicks and pops removed with Click Repair on light settings, manually auditioning the output; further clicks removed with Adobe Audition 3.0; dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.


Not much to say here: this is the third and final volume where CTI documented the days when people could get together for a giant open-air festival without fear of being gunned down like livestock. More vibes from Milt Jackson playing it safe. But Esther Phillips is the headliner, at least on the record, and we get wonderful tracks from her including a somewhat playful God Bless The Child which inexplicably has a few bars of Latin jazz that sound suspiciously like Wes Montgomery’s take on “TEQUILA” as a bridge to an instrumental stretch-out that stays in double time for a while before going back to the normal tempo.

It was a fun run of contractual-obligation records and but I felt more contractually obligated to finish sharing them than I felt enthusiastic about it. But that’s just moody old me.


password: vibes

CTI All-Stars – CTI Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl: Live Two (1977)

CTI All-Stars – Live Two (Summer Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl)
Vinyl rip in 24 bit 192 khz | Photos and art scans at 300 dpi
1977 CTI Records – CTI 7077

01 Blues Force 7:01 (Stanley Turrentine)
02 Rock Steady 10:30 (Aretha Franklin)
03 Theme From Love Story / Pavane / Fire And Rain 14:01 (Francis Lai, G. Faure*, James Taylor)
04 People Make The World Go Round 6:05  (Linda Creed, Thomas Bell)

Credits

Bass – Ron Carter
Drums – Jack DeJohnette
Flute – Hubert Laws
Guitar – George Benson
Keyboards – Bob James, Deodato, Johnny Hammond
Percussion – Airto
Saxophone – Grover Washington, Jr., Hank Crawford, Joe Farrell, Stanley Turrentine
Trumpet – Freddie Hubbard
Vibraphone – Milt Jackson
Vocals – Esther Phillips

Engineer – David Palmer
Design [Album] – Sib Chalawick
MC – Leonard Feather, Rick Holmes
Photography By – K’Abe
Producer – Creed Taylor
Recorded By – Wally Heider

Matrix / Runout (Runout A): 87738A1
Matrix / Runout (Runout B): 87738B11

RIPPING INFO
CTI 7076 vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica AT440-MLa cartridge; Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; Audioquest King Cobra cables; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; clicks and pops removed with Click Repair on light settings, manually auditioning the output; further clicks removed with Adobe Audition 3.0; dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.


The second volume of the contractual-obligation-trilogy, CTI Summer Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl, delivers the same kind of deal as the first, which you can read about in last week’s post.  I don’t have a tremendous amount to say about it.  “Blues Force” gives an opportunity for Milt Jackson to do his thing on the vibraphone.  In the last post I had said this volume would contain a version of the theme from The Thomas Crown Affair, “Windmills Of Your Mind” – well, I lied.  I got my Michel Legrand confused with my Francis Lai.  They both have similar, wistful melodies, so that’s my excuse.  Opening up the second side of the LP, it becomes a medley with some Renaissance jazz in “Pavane” and winds up with an almost-stirring “Fire and Rain.”  Freddie Hubbard again leads the group on the album’s closer with “People Make The World Go Round.”  Not to discourage anyone’s enthusiasm but I reiterate what I said in the first post – these live records are pleasant enough but I would mostly rather here a studio release from any of the many titans on this stage, they are just more compelling.  The third volume should be up this weekend, which features two  tracks (not one, as misspoken last week) featuring the great Esther Phillips on vocals, who gets credited on the first two LPs because it cost too much to customize the album credits on these.

Anybody who reads this blog and has some money to spare – please donate it to the relief efforts in Puerto Rico, that colonial property of the US who a certain asinine toddler just mocked instead of mobilizing support for humanitarian aid.  I’m not in the habit of endorsing specific charitable organizations, most have their pros and cons and it’s your choice.  Stay sane out there!


password: vibes

 

CTI All-Stars – CTI Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl: Live One (1977)

CTI All-Stars – Live One (Summer Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl)
Vinyl rip in 24 bit 192 khz | Photos and art scans at 300 dpi
1977 CTI Records – CTI 7076

01 Grits Bowl 8:09
Written-By – Hank Crawford

02 Inner City Blues / What’s Going On 8:46
Written-By – A. Cleveland, J. Nyxw, M. Gaye, R. Benson

03 California Dreaming 8:36
Written-By – J. Phillips, M. Gilliam

04 First Light 8:27
Written-By – Freddie Hubbard

Record Company – Creed Taylor, Inc.
Published By – Jobete Music Co., Inc.
Published By – Char-Liz Music, Inc.
Published By – Wingate Music Corp.
Published By – Hubtones Music
Mixed At – Electric Lady Studios
Recorded At – Hollywood Bowl

Credits

Bass – Ron Carter
Drums – Jack DeJohnette
Flute – Hubert Laws
Guitar – George Benson
Keyboards – Bob James, Deodato, Johnny Hammond
Percussion – Airto
Saxophone – Grover Washington, Jr., Hank Crawford, Joe Farrell, Stanley Turrentine
Trumpet – Freddie Hubbard
Vibraphone – Milt Jackson
Vocals – Esther Phillips

Engineer – David Palmer
Design [Album] – Sib Chalawick
MC – Leonard Feather, Rick Holmes
Photography By – K’Abe
Producer – Creed Taylor
Recorded By – Wally Heider

Matrix / Runout (Runout A): 87738A1
Matrix / Runout (Runout B): 87738B11

RIPPING INFO
CTI 7076 vinyl; Pro-Ject RM-5SE with Audio Tecnica AT440-MLa cartridge; Speedbox power supply); Creek Audio OBH-15; Audioquest King Cobra cables; M-Audio Audiophile 192 Soundcard ; Adobe Audition at 32-bit float 192khz; clicks and pops removed with Click Repair on light settings, manually auditioning the output; further clicks removed with Adobe Audition 3.0; dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced. Converted to FLAC in either Trader’s Little Helper or dBPoweramp. Tags done with Foobar 2000 and Tag and Rename.


I had intended to post this for the American Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of summer in the country that doesn’t recognize May Day as the real labor holiday.  This and the other two volumes were nearly ready to go when I received crappy professional news that I took personally.  At this point, not posting on the blog when I get bad news is the equivalent of “my dog ate my homework”.  When some good news finally comes in I’ll probably have to shut the blog down completely, it will be such a disruption from the pattern of the last three years.

Of course immediately after that holiday weekend, I was propelled into full-on disaster preparedness mode for the impending apocalypse, as discussed in my last post, which failed to actually occur.  It did happen in the Caribbean, and now Mexico and Puerto Rico are being smitten by the hammer of the gods.  I also hear that THE RAPTURE is imminent, so there may still be a chance to see the end of the world before the month is out.  Meanwhile, why not groove to the proto-smooth-jazz of the CTI All-Stars while waiting for the four horseman of the Book of Revelations to crash through your bedroom wall like the map thieves in Time Bandits?   Obviously I’m not really “feelin'” this post right now but I had it prepared for you and, in the northern hemisphere, it is the official last day of summer so I might as well post part 1 of 3 of a summer jazz festival.

Calling the CTI All-Stars “proto-smooth-jazz” is slightly cruel but still not altogether wrong.  The MC who opens the show (either Leonard Feather or Rick Holmes, I can’t tell), opines, “If jazz is dead, this is the biggest funeral I’ve ever seen.”  Somehow this doesn’t inspire confidence in me at all.  After all, jazz has always had a lot of friends and relations, and I’d expect a big turnout at its interment.  Nevertheless, this concert was recorded in 1972 and so it is legitimately pretty funky and soulful jazz. A listener might hope – what with this being live on stage, and not a tightly controlled Creed Taylor studio production – that the musicians would let loose more, take more risks, really let it rip.  Instead this is still largely a polished diamond, all the rough edges shaved down to gleaming facets, and if that’s how you like your jazz then you will revel in this.  Although I’m tempted to think of the presence of Creed Taylor anywhere in the vicinity to be a bit like the unseen policeman in the tower in Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon, compelling all the musicians to stay on their best behavior and discipline themselves, the truth is probably less cryptic.  This is an “All-Star” band comprised of around a dozen people who were all good bandleaders in their own right.  You get the feeling that everybody is being respectful and not wanting to step on anybody else’s toes by grandstanding too much.

I’m not sure what the story is in the five-year lag between the recording of this concert and its release on album.  The fact that it was done in three separate installments, and at the very end of CTI’s partnership with Motown Records, makes me inclined to think this was a contractual obligation thing.  I suppose three budget-priced LPs might sell a little easier than a deluxe triple disc set, but then again anybody still closely following CTI in the late 70s, when the label had pretty thoroughly run out of steam, probably would have bought it no matter how it was packaged.  As it stands, these three volumes seemed to get relegated to the cut-out bins pretty quickly and are pretty easy to find on the cheap.  All of mine were ‘new old stock’ so they made for a nice and easy vinyl transfer.

I’ve already described the music in general terms.  I could get specific but then I would have to complain about the silly police siren in the Marvin Gaye sandwich of Inner City Blues/What’s Going On.  Oh my, I guess I just did.  Listen to the incomparable Jack DeJohnette on his drum kit chaffing at the bit on this piece, trying to inject a little improvisational excitement into the careful, reverential arrangement, and you might see why I’m being kind of dour.  I still dig it, but it’s not a “you gotta hear this!” kind of cut like a roster of this much talent merits.  Still, this concert is an opportunity to hear some of the people whose careers took off in the 70’s while they were still young and hungry – Grover Washington, Jr,  and George Benson often don’t get their due credit, and that’s largely the fault of their own sleepy and predictable releases as time went on and they truly became the poster children of pre-Kenny G ‘pop jazz’.  Others, like Joe Farrell, had a bunch of consistently interesting records for CTI that I really do think are unfairly overlooked.

Benson takes the lead in a version of ‘California Dreaming’ that is more exciting than it probably deserves to be.  The closer on this set, Freddie Hubbard’s “First Light” is the most compelling thing here.  Which isn’t too surprising – Hubbard turned in some of my favorite CTI releases, which I think rank among the best LPs of his career, in particular Red Clay and Straight Life.  It’s solid and makes you want to hear the next LP of this set, but ultimately the version on his own album is still better.

All three of these records are gatefolds, featuring the same photograph of a (mostly but not entirely filled) Hollywood Bowl from behind the musicians.  The graphic designers and typesetters changed the track list, but the musician credits are generic – it is up to you the listener to discern who is taking a solo at any given time, or whether that’s Bob James or Deodato on the electric piano on this or that cut.  Hell, singer Esther Phillips is credited on all three LPs but only actually appears on the last one.  If any readers happen to have a break-down of who actually plays on which tracks of this sprawling triple live project, leave a comment and if the info is reliable I will add it to the body of this post.  Meanwhile, stay tuned for the next volume which features a moody rendition of Windmills Of Your Mind that is worth a listen.


password: vibes

 

—————–

Patrice Rushen – Prelusion (1974) with Joe Henderson

Patrice Rushen – Prelusion
Prestige VICJ-41866
Series: 1000 Jazz (Japan)
Released: 21 Feb 2007
Original release 1974 – Prestige (P 10089)

1 Shortie’s Portion 8:42
2 7/73 12:42
3 Haw-Right Now 8:00
4 Traverse 10:53
5 Puttered Bopcorn 4:15

All songs composed and arranged by Patrice Rushen

Acoustic and electric piano – Patrice Rushen
Bass – Tony Dumas
Drums – Ndugu
Flute, Alto Flute, Soprano Saxophone – Hadley Caliman
Percussion – Kenneth Nash
Tenor Saxophone – Joe Henderson
Trombone – George Bohanon
Trumpet – Oscar Brashear

Art Direction – Phil Carroll
Recording engineer – Eddie Harris, Skip Shimmin
Photography By – Bruce Talamon
Producer – Reggie Andrews


A few months ago I posted an extended 12″ single of one of Patrice Rushen’s early 80’s jams, and promised to come back and delve into her discography a little for the benefit of folks who were unfamiliar with her rewarding body of work.  I am finally getting around to it now.

So, there she is, smiling and lovely, standing barely higher than her grand piano – Patrice Rushen on her debut album.  Barely 20 years old when it was released, she stands on the shoulders of giants here (sorry, I couldn’t help myself), with assistance from the great Joe Henderson on tenor and Leon “Ndugu” Chancler driving the drum kit.  This record was produced by Rushen’s high-school mentor, Reggie Anderson.  Since Joe Henderson had settled in San Francisco in the early 70’s and was working as a jazz educator at the time, I am presuming it was Williams who recruited Henderson to add some “draw” to this session for his former prodigy student, who I believe was in college at USC in Los Angeles at the time this was made.  This is pure speculation on my part, but Patrice had not yet become the ubiquitous, in-demand session player she was soon to become, so it seems as likely a scenario as any.  Presumably she was finding time for live performance and establishing her name in jazz circles that way, but I imagine some intervention and negotiation by Williams and/or Henderson was needed to persuade the mighty Prestige label to sign the relatively unknown Rushen to a three record contract.  In fact the only other album credit that I can find for Patrice before the release of this album is a super obscure Afrocentric spiritual-jazz record called “Msingi Workshop”, made by a bunch of Watts high school students and also produced and arranged by Reggie Anderson.  Anderson also founded the group Karma later in the decade, as well as producing, arranging and co-writing (with Ndugu) the quintessential Dazz Band single ‘Let It Whip.’ The Msingi Workshop album, a rare private-press collectible, also featured future members of Roy Ayer’s Ubiquity, Les McCann’s group, and Rick James’ Stone City Band, among other credits.  That must have been one intense group of kids…

“Prelusion” seems determined to establish Patrice’s jazz bona-fides right away with the cutely titled “Shortie’s Portion” providing some fairly mundane but thoroughly pleasant straight-up jazz, with a standard solo/chorus/solo/chorus arrangement that has Henderson and trombonist George Bohanon putting in solid performances.  The second track, 7/73, begins with some loose percussion and vaguely Asian flute melodies from Hadley Calimen,  tape-delayed electric piano (Roland Space Echo?) that hints at a cosmic Hancock-style exploration of the nether regions, with the group reaching a minor crescendo broken up by a brief drum solo that is really more of a cymbal solo.  The group pulls back to a relaxed , almost-funky, almost-spiritual piece that makes me.  Behind Calimen and Bohanon’s solos, Patrice plays some chord inversions on the Rhodes that evoke a hipper trolley gliding through Mr. Rogers neighborhood.   For her own solo she switches to acoustic piano for a kind of nebulous ending.  If this were an LP you’d be flipping it over shortly to hear “Haw-right Now,” on which Tony Dumas lays down some of the funkiest upright acoustic bass playing you’re likely to hear.  After a strident and brassy statement of the main theme, the groups settles into a pressure-cooker of a groove and lets Joe Henderson take a blistering solo, pushing notes through that steam valve, making you check that the lid is locked down tight so you don’t have an accident.  Patrice reduces the heat with a simmering turn at her solo…. Okay, I’m really sorry folks, I was cooking black beans while listening to this earlier.  I will set aside that metaphor (and let stand for five minutes before serving).  The next track, “Traverse”, bounces along like a fairly standard, finger-snapping post-bop number until about three-quarters the way through its 10-minute length, at which point the ensemble effortlessly morphs the whole thing into jazz samba.  Amazing work by Ndugu and Kenneth Nash on the percussive side of things here, and Patrice develops her own understated solo as the song fades out.  Makes me want to hear the unedited cut, and also to peruse through a snapshot of Patrice’s record collection as a young lady to see if she was deep into the 60’s jazz-samba-bossa combo permutations of the day or just absorbing these grooves second-hand through the oodles of American-Brazilian collaboration and ‘crossover’ albums.   Was the title “Traverse” itself an homage to Milton Nascimento’s “Travessia,” a favorite among American jazzers of the early 70s?  Please ask Professor Rushen next  time you see her for me.  The final track, Puttered Bopcorn, foreshadows the jazz-funk-fusion of her next Prestige effort, with Much Moog and Copious Clavinet™.  Apparently this short but tasty track was left off a 2-on-1 CD repackaging of her first two albums because of its cholesterol content, with the official FDA justification given as “time considerations.”  So as of the time of this post, the only way to hear the entire album without tracking down the vinyl is to get hold of this out-of-print Japanese pressing, which has the kind of stellar, dynamic sound you expect from out-of-print Japanese pressings.

TL;DR – Perhaps not a debut to blow your top over, “Preclusion” is a very solid jazz outing for a young Patrice Rushen, full of enough eclectic surprises to keep this listener engaged, and  enough jazzy jazz to make the purists wring their hands and agonize over the inevitable “what if she hadn’t turned to (gasp!) R&B later in her career?!” question.  Which is of course a very silly question.  Her R&B stuff is brilliant.  As we’ll see when I continue these slow and occasional installments in exploring her discography.


password: vibes

Antonio Adolfo e A Brazuca – s/t (No.1) – 1969

Antonio Adolfo & A Brazuca
Antonio Adolfo & A Brazuca (No. 1)
1969 Odeon MOFB-3618 (Original issue)
2014 Reissue EMI: UICY 76458 Odeon: TOCP-66055
Brasil 1000 Best Collection

Japan reissue, released 23 Jul 2014

1 Juliana 3:18
2 Futilirama 2:47
3 Moça 2:51
4 Dois Tempos 2:43
5 Vôo Da Apolo 4:28
6 Porque Hoje É Domingo 3:09
7 Maria Aparecida 2:06
8 Psiu 1:56
9 A Cidade E Eu 3:16
10 Pelas Ruas Do Meu Bairro 4:05
11 Teletema 2:44
Bonus Tracks: Odeon 7BD-1203 EP (1970)
12 Gloria, Glorinha 3:07
13 O Baile Do Clube 2:07
14 Ao Redor 2:11
15 M.G.8-80-88 2:19
.

Record Company – USM Japan

——————–
Producer – Milton Miranda

Assistant Co-producer – Tibério Gaspar
Conductor – Laércio De Freitas
Cover – Victor Fernando
Musical director – Lyrio Panicali
Technical Director and engineer – Z. J. Merky
Orchestrated By – Antonio Adolfo
Photography By – Carlos Ribeiro, Franklin Corrêa, Victor Fernando

Recording engineers – Jorge, Nivaldo
Technician – Reny R. Lippi


 

“This is great summer smoothness.” – blog reader Verge

Listening to this breezy offering of carefree carioca tunes, I get the impression that – had he been inclined to move to the United States and and start recording anglophone versions of Brazilian hits – Antônio Adolfo could have beat Sérgio Mendes at his own game.  But Adolfo was a busy guy in the 1960s, playing in various jazz-bossa and bossa-jazz combos and even backing up Elis Regina and Milton Nascimento for a short while.  The first of two records with his short-lived group Brazuca, this one is immediately accessible and charming, if a bit less adventurous than their second album.  The back cover features blurbs from celebs, a bit like book endorsements, from the likes of Carlos Imperial and Roberto Carlos, who likens them to an old tradition with a new sound.   Adolfo and his writing partner Tibério Gaspar were frequent contenders in the televised song competitions of the day – they won 2nd place with “Julianna”, featured above.  The whole album is very much of its time, its mini-skirt and Vespa vibe has a certain innocence to it where you would hardly know there is a dictatorship going on in the country where this was recorded.  Lyricist Gasper, who passed away to little fanfare last February, says as much in “Hoje é domingo,” where the listener is encouraged to leave their troubles behind and enjoy the nearly-universal day of peace and quiet.    Insisting on carrying on with a smile is its own kind of resistance, I guess.  Adolfo and Gasper were responsible for quite a few songs in Brazil when that became huge hits for other artists.  “Teletema”, which closes this album (it is followed by bonus tracks on the CD) is one of those.  It was featured in a telenovela in a cloying version by “Regininha” later in the year, but I prefer the original

They also wrote the funky BR-3 for Toni Tornado, but probably their best-known hit was ” Sá Marina” as recorded by Wilson Simonal.   You can go google that one up yourself but I feel obliged to share this cool clip of Stevie Wonder singing an anglicized version of it on Brazilian TV, renamed “Pretty World,” when Simonal’s version was still fresh in the collective memory. It starts out  a little shaky but quickly picks up.  I like his cute “obrigado” when he finishes.  For those interested, you can find the whole hour-long TV special on YouTube as well.  YouTube has kind of made blogs like mine a bit obsolete, hasn’t it?  I mean you can find anything there, what do you need me for?  Anyway, I still soldier on.

If the album is guilty of anything, it may be excessive cuteness.  Dois Tempos is a kind of musical pun, a composition combining two time signatures with lyrics sketching a portrait of a person who seems to inhabit both a vanished past and contemporary space tinged with uncertainty, a sepia-toned photograph come to life, a sort of decadently picturesque anachronism.   It’s a bit precious, and while some listeners may be charmed by that very quality, it’s one the group largely shed on the second album.  Even the obligatory song dealing with space flight (because its 1969), Vôo da Apolo, starts like its going to blast off into some sort of exciting space bossa-funk number, but then kind of settles into something more pedestrian.   On the second album, Adolfo and company would  push the envelope a little further with songs like Transamazônica, named after the pharaonic project of constructing a massive highway connecting parts of the Amazon region with the rest of the country.  The lyrics there are nothing special really, but musically the group is bolder and taking more chances.  But don’t let me sour anybody on this very fine album, because it’s  solid.  It just happens to be one of those cases where I was introduced to what I consider their superior effort first, so I can’t help making the comparisons between the two.  And idiosyncratic, impressionistic descriptions of long-player albums is what has made this blog tick for nine year so don’t expect me to change things too much now!  Anyway, enjoy this groovy debut from Antônio Adolfo e A Brazuca.

 


password: vibes