Jorge Ben – Solta o Pavão (1975)

Jorge Ben
SOLTA O PAVÃO
Released 1975
Phonogram / Philips (6349 162)This reissue, Salve, Jorge! Boxset

1 Zagueiro
2 Assim falou Santo Tomaz de Aquino
3 Velhos, flores, criancinhas e cachorros
4 Dorothy
5 Cuidado com o bulldog
6 Para ouvir no rádio (Luciana)
7 O rei chegou, viva o rei
8 Jorge de Capadócia
9 Se segura malandro
10 Dumingaz
11 Luz polarizada
12 Jesualda

I was lucky enough to find a vinyl copy of this album years ago for the price of a sandwich or maybe just a bag of chips. It was a near-perfect copy marred only by a single skip on one track. But a combination of wanting to preserve this relic, and as much as I love vinyl I must admit this: the convenience of CDs, led me to rather ignore this album in favor of its predecessor, the famed “A Tábua de Esmeralda”, which has been available in various pressings much more so than this title.. I also thought A Tábua was a better album, the best he ever made. Well now I am not so sure. Since getting this new boxset I have been playing the hell out of this CD more than the others. The songs may not reach out and pinch you like “A Tábua” does I think the album is for the most part the equal of its “twin”. The album even has a similar weak spot — the slightly-annoying “Cuidado com o bulldog” is the equivalent of A Tábua’s “Brother”, i.e. a song that you often just want to skip over. Except that “bulldog” is structurally more interesting and band rocks the fuck out of it. (I keep locking horns with people over the song “Brother”.. Okay, it’s not *that* bad.)

Musically there is a frenetic energy and tension to some of the songs that differs from A Tábua, in a way leading into the funk overdrive of his next album, Àfrica Brasil. The production from Sr. Tabajos is once again brilliant. Woodwind arrangement on ‘Dorothy’. Enough said. The drums on that tune and some others suffer a little bit from the mastering, which sounds like it was sent through a Manley tube compressor running warm enough to reheat my soup. “Assim falou Santo Tomas de Aquinas” is a thing of beauty infused with inner light. The track Jorge de Capadócia is a sonic orgasm bringing timbales, analog synths, and an odd coda with repeating plucked guitar string heavily phased and tremolo’d in a way that reminds me of “Future Days”-era Can..(I have no idea why everything has been reminding me of Can lately, seeing as I have not listened to them in quite some time. Maybe its a sign to dig those records out..). Jorge’s occasionally odd mix of profundity and levity is just irresistible to me. He wants to save the senior citizens, the flowers, the children, and the dogs. All in the same song. How can I argue with that? The album kind of peters out at the end, the final tracks sort of lose your attention, but it never wears out its carpet and I’ve found myself wanting to play it over again when it ends. And I never do that.

The beguiling subject matter is very much an extension of “A Tábua”, diving further into the mystical, the arcane, the heraldric symbolism and imagery of alchemy, and influenced by the writings of St.Thomas of Aquinas. The sparse liner-notes on the back cover treat this somewhat lightly, noting (correctly) Jorge’s own alchemy at combining these interests with the cotidian life of Rio de Janeiro and his love of futebol and so on. But it’s also a very serious thing. What I wouldn’t give to have seen this boxset released with a real, comprehensive BOOKLET: where are the rare photos? the interviews? The narratives and stories behind each of these records? I want to know his favorite movies and books and invite him as my Facebook friend.. Wait a minute, that´s not actually true. But the stars know I paid enough for the box, and the least they could do is give us a few photos of Ben looking cool.

Perhaps Jorge himself is reluctant to talk about these ideas that were bubbling in the cauldron of his mind and spirit while creating the most interesting albums of his career. I don’t know if there are any interviews where he talks about them, or if any journalists or biographers have shed any decent insights on these albums ( África Brasil is part of the ‘trilogy’ of esoteric masterpieces, thought not always considered as such). If anyone happens to know of anything like this, let me know!

There are full musician credits on this one, for a change. You can read them yourself in the artwork. In the tradition of the Ohio Players, all the musicians have their astrological sign listed. There are just too many musicians to list, but I will pay homage to the rhythm section of Dadi Aroul Flabi (bass) and Gusta Von (drums) who are just massive all throughout.

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O REI CHEGOU, VIVA O REI!!!

Jorge Ben – Negro é Lindo (1971) {Salve, Jorge! Boxset}

01 – Rita Jeep
02 – Porque é Proibido Pisar Na Grama
03 – Cassius Marcelo Clay
04 – Cigana
05 – Zula
06 – Negro é Lindo
07 – Comanche
08 – Que Maravilha
09 – Maria Domingas
10 – Palomaris

Original release:
Produced by Paulinho Tapajós
Recording technicians: Toninho and Mazzola
Studio: C.B.D.P.
Arrangements by Arthur Verocai
Photo: Wilney Cover design: Aldo Luiz

2009 reissue credits
Supervision: Alice Soares
Project conceptualization: Carlos Savalla
Liner Notes: Ana Maria Bahiana
Coordination: Rodrigo Faour
Remastering: Luigi Hoffer at DMS Mastering Solutions
Restoration of original LP covers and adaptation for CD: Leandro Arraes at LAStudio
Editing: Luiz Augusto
Graphic design: Geysa Adnet

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Interestingly, the bilingual texts on the new CD jackets do not actually have the same information, both containing some tidbits of info that the other doesn’t have. In the interest of globalization I am going to do a quick free translation here (all errors are my own..):

Jorge Ben Jor’s trilogy of albums with Trio Mocotó closes with the powerful “Negro É Lindo” (Black is Beuatiful) in 1971, in a phase of the Brazilian culture industry where blacks began to be perceived as potential consumers. Negro é Lindo delivers an homage to Cassius Clay (later known as Muhammad Ali) and also to João Parahyba, nicknamed Comanche. It has delcarations of love for his beloved wife Maria Tereza Domingas and, at the same time, proposes a pact of goodwill and unity to Rita Lee, responsible for his trips to and from the studio to his house in Brooklin (*southside neighborhood of São Paulo, not the one in New York…).

One difference in relation to the other LPs is the fact that this one was to be more centered on the acoustic guitar in its arrangements, possibly the fruit of his partnership with Paulinho Tapajós, who directed Ben’s recordings between 71 and 75. In the studio, Tapajós prefered to record Jorge one his own and on stop of a platform, under which were placed microphones that captured the time-keeping beats of the artists’ shoes and foot-tapping, and the scrape of his pick across the guitar strings. Beginning with this base, the arrangements were built around him. “With the pulse of the foot-taps, his, voice, and the guitar pick, Jorge transformed himself into a machine of rhythm. Afterward, I embellished this with the other instruments in arrangements (of scale and tone) that wouldn’t conflict with what he was doing. We recorded 30, 40 songs for one single album and I believe there must be a lot of unreleased material. It was the best way to work, because the coolest thing about Jorge is the freedom. He does not have discipline. Therefore, we had to follow along after him.” One could analyze this liberty and freedom as a certain kind of alienation between the techniques and artifices of the studio and the process of practicing as a group. There are classic moments calling for the bridge, or the end of a sing, same as LPs recorded live (“Em cima!”, “Miudinho!”). Add to this the fact that Ben, aside from composing the lyrics and music for the vast majority of the songs he created, did not do arrangements for other instruments: in this era, he played his guitar and sang, and the arranger (or Trio Mocotó) did their work on top of this.

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Side note from Flabbergast… Interesting that Arthur Verocai, who at this point in time is probably more famous outside Brazil than within it, does not get any mention in these liner notes even though he was responsible for the arrangements as much or more so than producer Tapajós…

The notes also sidestep Ben’s involvement with and importance to the movement(s) variously referred to as Black Rio, Black Power, Samba Soul, Movimento Negro, in the 1970s. An embracing of black identity in an allegedly colorblind ‘racial democracy’ where bring up something like “Black Pride” is likely to spark an argument. In fact doing so led to just such an argument for me TODAY — one has to remember this was even more polemical in the early 70s. It’s not the first foray into this territory in Ben’s music or lyrics, by any means, but probably the first where he is self-consciously integrating his work around Afrocentric ideas, making him part of a global phenomenon happening at the same time in the US, the Caribbean, in other parts of Latin America, and in Africa itself. The liner notes would almost imply that this was a marketing strategy (the black woman or man as potential consumer), an interpretation which I hope is just me being reactionary and radical and indignant as I sometimes tend to be… Because if that IS the implication, then its an insult to Jorge Ben and the massive accomplishments of his music during this period.

This pressing hails from the 12-CD boxset released just a week ago. There will be more of it to come…

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Emílio Santiago – Emílio Santiago (1975) {João Donato, Azimuth, Wilson das Neves..)

Emilio Santiago (1975)
1975, CID (8008)
CD Reissue, CID (0074102)1 Bananeira
(Gilberto Gil, João Donato)
2 Quero alegria
(Guilherme de Brito, Nelson Cavaquinho)
3 Porque somos iguais
(Pedro Camargo, Durval Ferreira)
4 Batendo a porta
(Paulo César Pinheiro, João Nogueira)
5 Depois
(Otávio Daher, Ivan Lins)
6 Brother
(Jorge Ben)
7 La mulata
(Paulo Sergio Valle, Marcos Valle)
8 Nega Dina
(Zé Keti)
9 Doa a quem doer
(Ivan Lins)
10 Sessão das dez
(Édson Lobo, Tita, Renato Rocha) 

Truth be told, I am not a huge fan of Emilio Santiago. In fact all I have is this album, ‘Comigo é assim’ and `Feito Pra Ouvir` which might be his most famous from the 70s. But his early stuff is worth checking out, especially this debut album. This one is, in fact, pretty bad-ass. Emilio was sort of a protege, or at least a `discovery` of Roberto Menescal, who wrote the liner notes for this album and produced `Feito Pra Ouvir` a few years later.

In truth this album may be most interested for the insane lineup of musicians who contributed to it. João Donato’s contribution on the electric Rhodes is the most obvious — as is the song he co-wrote with Gilberto Gil, “Bananeira”, as solid a piece of Brazil funk as you could find. Donato also gives the track “La mulata” (penned by the brothers Valle) a salsa-style arrangement that stands out quite nicely. The funk-fusion band Azimuth provides backing on one track only, Jorge Ben’s “Brother.” Now, ‘Brother’ is from what many regard as Ben’s best album ever — A Tábua de Esmeralda — but for me that song has always been the weakest link in the great chain of that record. Here, I dare say that Emilio may surpass the original, and with big credit due to Azimuth, who make the song hit much harder than Ben’s laid-back style.

You can see the rest of the big names who helped out on this record on the CD tray like Wilson das Neves, Copinha, Ivan Lins, Dori Caymmi… Keeping in mind that the lineup of the musical backing changes on every track, sometimes entirely, the album is remarkably consistent in its sound. Emilio’s interpretations of sambas from the likes of Nelson Cavaquinho and João Nogueira are still growing on me, and perhaps they never will… His voice veers towards the schmaltzy style that would make him famous in the 80s and 90s. He is definitely not alone in giving classic samba that kind of slick treatment, but I will always prefer ‘samba do morro’ to ‘samba de calçada’ I guess..

By the way, his name is Emilio Santiago, in case you can’t read it clearly on the front cover of the album.  Bio in Portuguese

Carioca, começou a cantar em festivais universitários nos anos 70, quando freqüentava a faculdade de Direito. Participou também de programas de calouros na televisão, chegando às finais de um concurso no programa Flávio Cavalcanti, na TV Tupi. Foi crooner da orquestra de Ed Lincoln, e cantou em boates e casas noturnas. Seu primeiro compacto foi lançado em 1973 com “Transa de Amor” (S. Tapajós/ M. Amaral) e “Saravá Nega” (Odibar), o que abriu portas para participações em programas de rádio e televisão. Dois anos depois a CID grava o primeiro LP, “Emílio Santiago”, com músicas de Jorge Ben (“Brother”), João Donato (“Bananeira”) e outros. No ano seguinte assinou contrato com a Polygram, que lançou os dez discos seguintes. Foi eleito o melhor intérprete do Festival da TV Globo de 1985 com a música “Elis Elis” (E. Natolo Jr./ M. Simões). Em 1988 mudou para a gravadora Som Livre, onde iniciou o projeto “Aquarelas Brasileiras”, dedicado exclusivamente ao repertório de música brasileira. Lançou sete discos pelo projeto, alcançando a marca de 4 milhões de cópias vendidas. No final da década de 90 lançou discos fora do Aquarela Brasileira, inclusive um em homenagem ao cantor Dick Farney.

 

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(edit/update, March 20, 2013 – Emílio passed away today, only in his 60s too..  So I fixed the links here and reposted, but without any other changes.  Maybe in the coming weeks I’ll try to get another of his records up here..)

Antonio Adolfo e Brazuca (1970) REPOST

 

adolfo

Créditos:
Antônio Adolfo: Piano, Piano Elétrico, Arranjos
Luiz Cláudio Ramos: Guitarras
Luizão Maia: Baixo
Paulo Braga: Bateria
Bimba: Vocais
Luiz Keller: Vocais

This record starts out mellow, low-key.. fairly normal, laid-back MPB for 1970. But by the time you make your way a few cuts in, on the track “Tribute to Victor Manga,” you realize this is an extraordinary album. With vocals that are often in tension with the lush and careful arrangements, with a lot melodic interplay, and with sharp, crisp and always-interesting production, and anchored in the tight rhythm-section of Luizão Maia and Paulo Braga, this is one of the best put-together Brazilian albums of 1970. This is no accident, as Adolfo is probably most famous as an arranger, although for those of us who compulsively read writing credits will have noticed his name cropping up on records by the likes of Toni Tornado (his biggest hit, “B.R. 3”, was penned by Adolfo), Wilson Simonal, and even Elis Regina. On this album, tracks like “Que se dane” with its sarcastic lyrics and funky-as-hell Wurlitzer sounds give way to even stranger pieces like ‘Atenção, atenção!” and the barbs of ‘Transamazonica’. Some very groovy female vocals all over this too. Adolfo would make more ‘respectable’ music of a jazz variety in the later seventies, and these days he runs his own music school and still puts out records every now and again.

The Rhodes electric piano on this album is off the hook. And as Simon says, there is never enough Rhodes in the world..

Dusty Groove says
A lost treasure from Antiono Adolfo — keyboard player, arranger, and one of the greatest Brazilian talents of his generation! Adolfo’s sound and style is contemporaneous with the best work of Marcos Valle, Edu Lobo, and others — and like them, he has an approach that mixes together jazz, MPB, baroque orchestrations, easy scoring, and a bit of funk — similar to the best work of the Blue Brazil generation on EMI/Odeon Records. The approach is one that’s rarely been matched by any other artist — and it’s a strong reason why Adolfo’s records from this period are extremely sought after in the world of collectors. This beautiful album from 1970 has Adolfo working with the group A Brazuca — who bring some wonderful vocal harmonies to the set, mixing with strings, guitars, and some great electric piano work from Adolfo. Includes the breezy classic “Transamazonica”, plus the cuts “Que Se Dane”, “Atencao Atencao”, “Claudia”, “Panorama”, “Tributo A Victor Manga”, “Caminhada”, “Grilopus No 1”, and “Cotidiano”.

 

Adolfo’s bio in English from his own page:

Antonio Adolfo is an important composer, having written songs recorded by Nara Leao, Marisa Gata Mansa, Angela Ro Ro, Wilson Simonal, Ivete Sangalo, Leci Brandao, Emilio Santiago, Beth Carvalho, Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66, Stevie Wonder and Herb Alpert among others. Adolfo also had a noted role in the process of making important music available through independent production, through the creation of the pioneer independent label Artezanal. His recordings of important and almost-forgotten composers of the belle epoque, like Chiquinha Gonzaga, Ernesto Nazareth and Joao Pernambuco, are noted cultural initiatives. As an arranger, he worked for Leci Brandao, Angela Ro Ro, Elizeth Cardoso, Emilio Santiago, Fatima Guedes, Marcos Valle, Mongol, Nara Leao, O Grupo, Ruy Maurity (his brother), Sueli Costa, Vinicius Cantuaria, Rita Lee, Zeze Motta, and others.

The son of Yolanda Maurity, a music teacher and violinist of the orchestra of the Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, Antonio Adolfo began to study music very early. At seven, he began his violin studies with Paulina D’Ambrozzio. At 15, he took up piano, studying with Amyrton Vallim and with the internationally renowned Eumir Deodato. In 1963, he joined the group Samba Cinco, which performed in the famous Beco das Garrafas on Rio’s 52nd street. In 1964 Adolfo was invited by Carlos Lyra and Vinicius de Moraes to be a musician for their play Pobre Menina Rica (at Teatro de Bolso), beginning to accompany important names of MPB. Adolfo formed the group 3-D for that gig, and continued to perform with it until 1968, having recorded four LPs. In that year, he became acquainted with Tiberio Gaspar, with whom he wrote important songs such as “Juliana,” “Sa Marina,” “Teletema,” and “BR-3.” “Caminhada” made it to the finals of the II FIC (Rio’s International Song Contest), 1967. The next year, Wilson Simonal recorded “Sa Marina” with success. In that year “Visao” was included in the III FIC. In 1969 Adolfo accompanied Elis Regina in her tour through Europe. Back to Brazil in the same year, he wrote music for soap operas and participated in the IV FIC (1969) with “Juliana” (written with Tiberio). The song was defended by Adolfo’s group A Brazuca, and took second place. With that group he toured Brazil and Peru, recording two albums through Odeon. In 1970, “Teletema” (with Tiberio) took second place in an International Festival (Song Olympiad) in Athens, Greece, in Evinha’s interpretation, which achieved popular success also in Brazil. “BR-3” won the national phase of the V FIC, in Toni Tornado’s interpretation. In 1971 Adolfo moved to the U.S.. In 1972 he returned to Brazil, beginning to write alone, and recording Antonio Adolfo (Philips). In that year he studied with David Baker at Indiana University. Adolfo was a member of the band that backed Elis Regina in two European tours, finding time in between for a stint with the classical Nadia Boulanger, having studied also with Guerra Peixe and Esther Scliar. Back in Brazil, he developed his career as pianist, arranger, and producer. But even more deserving of attention is his work as a pioneer in the independent production field, which awakened artists and public to the necessity of opening alternative routes to non-commercial productions. In 1977 he launched his independent label Artezanal with the album Feito em Casa, with only originals. Encontro Musical, released in the same year, brought again originals and only one song, “Sa Marina,” written together with Tiberio. The album had the participation of Joyce and Erasmo Carlos. Viralata (1979) had mainly originals, and Continuidade had special guests. The albums were propelled by shows throughout Brazil, together with artists like Tiao Neto, Vitor Assis Brasil, Carmelia Alves, Oswaldinho do Acordeom, Alaide Costa, Sidney Miller, Walter Queiroz, and Danilo Caymmi, among others. In 1984 Adolfo released through the label Funarte a tribute album dedicated to the compositions of Joao Pernambuco, with participation of No em Pingo D’agua. In 1985 he paid tribute to Chiquinha Gonzaga, a seminal Brazilian female conductor, pianist, and composer, interpreting her songs in Viva Chiquinha Gonzaga, with participation of Nilson Chaves and Vital Lima. The album Os Pianeiros is dedicated to belle epoque piano composers. In the same year he participated in the first Carioca experience of teaching popular music/jazz in the Centro Calouste Gulbenkian, together with Pascoal Meirelles, Helio Delmiro, Ary Piassarollo, Paulo Russo, and others. Seeing the potential of the sector, he opened his Centro Musical Antonio Adolfo, also developing workshops in the U.S. and Europe. Adolfo published music education material in Brazil and abroad, including the video Secrets of Brazilian Music and two books with companion CD Brazilian Music Workshop (1996) and Phrasing In Brazilian Music (2007), both published by Advance Music, together with seven other books through Lumiar publishing (Brazil). In 1996 he received the Premio Sharp award for his instrumental composition “Cristalina,” from his album Cristalino (1993). In 1997 released Chiquinha com Jazz (Artezanal), which also was awarded the Premio Sharp, and so was the album Antonio Adolfo. Since then Adolfo released the CDs Puro Improviso, Viralata, Feito em Casa, Os Pianeiros, Carnaval Piano Blues and Anatonio Adolfo & Carol Saboya Ao vivo/Live, this one was released both in Brasil and in the US.

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