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
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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.

 


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Charles Earland – Odyssey (1976)

CHARLES EARLAND
ODYSSEY
Released 1976
Mercury SRM-1-1049

After the phenomenal double-LP ‘Leaving This Planet’, which featured Freddie Hubbard and Joe Henderson as rocket fuel, Earland continued in a similarly cosmic-jazz direction.  He made one more LP for Prestige, a live album of new material called Kharma, and then began a new phase at Mercury Records with this jazz-funk-latin-disco-rock fusion called Odyssey, which also became the name of his spaceship, I mean vehicle, for releasing this kind of thing for the next few years.  This album has never ever been issued on CD.  Meet you after the jump to continue the voyage.. Continue reading

Walter Bishop, Jr – Coral Keys (1971) (Black Jazz BJ/2)

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“Coral Keys”
Walter Bishop, Jr.
Released on Black Jazz 1971 (BJ/2)
Japanese Reissue 2005 Black Jazz/P-Vine

Coral Keys 6:20
Waltz For Zweetie 5:08
Track Down 4:51
Soul Turn Around 7:18
Our November 4:10
Three Loves 5:00
Freedom Suite 7:50

All songs composedand arranged by Walter Bishop
Produced and engineered by Gene Russell Continue reading

Gene Russell – New Direction (1972) (Black Jazz BJ/1)

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Gene Russell
New Direction
1972 Black Jazz BJ/1
2003 CD Reissue Black Jazz BJ/1

1     Black Orchid     3:13
2     Hitting The Jug     4:42
3     Willow Weep For Me     4:48
4     Listen Here     3:15
5     On Green Dolphin Street     5:02
6     Silver’s Serenade     4:54
7     My Cherie Amour     3:01
8     Making Bread     3:21

Bass – Henry Franklin
Electric bass – Larry Gates (tracks: 1, 8)
Congas – Tony William
Drums – Steve Clover
Piano – Gene Russell

Producer – Gene Russell


“New Direction” is maybe the misnomer of the year as far as jazz records released in 1972.  This album looks squarely to the past golden age of acoustic piano-led soul jazz for its inspiration.  There is nothing unpleasant here, by any means, but these are sounds you could find  executed with more panache and variety on  any given Junior Mance, Ahmad Jamal or Ramsey Lewis record.   Mostly this album is of historic interest because Gene Russell was the founder and executive producer of the Black Jazz Records label, which has since developed quite a cult following for its stunning recordings that explored adventurous (but accessible) pathways into modal, spiritual, and ‘conscious’ jazz, like the masterful entries from Doug and Jean Carn.  The history of the label and its reissues is something of a mess, with its master tapes even being sold on eBay at one point.   None of the songwriters are credited on this sketchy CD pressing from the early 00’s, for example, and none of them are originals.  Most casual jazz fans will recognize that a few of them are standards.  This label debut opens up with the Latin jazz of Neil Hefti’s “Black Orchid”, and serves up a memorable groover in Eddie Harris’ “Listen Here.”  I’m not sure Russell has the chops or the vision to make “On Green Dolphin Street” or “Silver’s Serenade” good for much more than background music.  By the time the rather pointless rendition of “My Cherie Amour” comes around, I’m afraid the idea of this record is firmly established: this is solid dinner jazz with which to take your seat and order a cocktail and a small appetizer, while you await the main act to come on stage — in this case, the main act being THE REST OF THE BLACK JAZZ CATALOG.  He closes with Gene Harris ‘”Making Bread,” which seems like a fitting conclusion for all this.  Harris, whether with The Three Sounds or his wonderful records on his own, was the Master Chef who, along with an entourage of other culinary alchemists, made possible the sonic kitchen that would be the playground for the great music to issue forth from the Black Jazz imprint.  So now with the hors d’oeuvres out of the way, the real menu is ready to be rolled out.

Perhaps “New Direction” was designed as a deliberate look back to how we got “here” (‘here’ being soul jazz in 1972), in which case we can hear it as a reverent homage and statement of purpose.  In all other respects, though, I won’t hesitate in saying that this is the least interesting entry in the entire Black Jazz discography.  But since it is my intention to follow through on a promise made long ago about sharing a bunch of that music here at Flabbergasted Vibes, we might as well start with BJ/1.   Rusell gave us a mildly more interesting and considerably more funky record in 1973’s “Talk To My Lady,” which we’ll get to soon enough.


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Shirley Scott – Blue Seven (1961)

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Shirley Scott
BLUE SEVEN
with Oliver Nelson and Joe Newman
1961 Prestige  PR 7376
OJC Reissue OJCCD 1050-2, 2001

1. Blue Seven
2. How Sweet
3. Don’t Worry ‘Bout It Baby, Here I Am
4. Nancy (With The Laughing Face)
5. Wagon Wheels
6. Give Me The Simple Life

Recorded at Van Gelder Studio, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey on August 22, 1961.

Joe Newman (tp) Oliver Nelson (ts) Shirley Scott (org) George Tucker (b) Roy Brooks (d)

So I was listening to one of James Brown’s early instrumental records from the 60s a few days ago, and it left me wanting to listen to somebody who could actually play the organ.  I ended up reaching for this record, a mellow little number from Shirley Scott.  Usually she played with a leaner ensemble, and this has a nice, fleshed-out sound to it with warm trumpet and sax work from Joe Newman and Oliver Nelson.  Newman’s long muted trumpet solo on Wagon Wheels is an excellent companion on a rainy day like I am having today.  The title track, a Sonny Rollins tune, sets the relaxed blues tone for the rest of the set.  I like Roy Brooks but on this session his touch seems a little indelicate at times: even his hi-hat somehow sounds “heavy” and plodding, even on the ballad Nancy (With The Laughing Face).  On this tune Shirley’s organ sounds so wonderful I feel like I am sitting right next to it watching the tubes glow; it’s redundant to compliment Van Gelder on his recording prowess, but there it is.

A short and sweet blog post for a short and sweet album.

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