VA – O Fino da Bossa (1964) (Alaíde Costa, Jorge Ben, Nara Leão, Zimbo Trio, Oscar Castro Neves, Wanda Sá)

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“O Fino da Bossa”
O show “O Fino da Bossa” recorded at the Paramount Theatre in São Paulo, 25th of May, 1964.
Original LP produced by Walter Silva
CD repressing on RGE 1994
featuring:
Alaide Costa
Zimbo Trio
Rosinha de Valenca
Ana Lucia
Paulinho Nogueira
Jorge Ben
Wanda Sá
Nara Leao
Oscar Castro Neves
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Some interesting photos included in the packaging, which feature a young Flora Purim and Toquinho, neither of whom seemingly participated in the recording, but they sure do look pretty
01 – Onde Está Você (Oscar Castro Neves / Luvercy Fiorini) – Alaíde Costa
02 – Garota de Ipanema (Tom Jobim / Vinicius de Moraes) – Zimbo Trio
03 – Samba Medley | Gosto Que Me Enrosco (J. B. da Silva “Sinhô”) Agora É Cinza (Alcebíades Barcelos “Bide” / Armando “Marçal”) Duas Contas (Garoto) Bossa na Praia (Pery Ribeiro / Geraldo Cunha) – Paulinho Nogueira
04 – Tem Dó (Baden Powell / Vinicius de Moraes) – Ana Lúcia
05 – Consolação (Baden Powell / Vinicius de Moraes) – Rosinha de Valença
06 – Chove Chuva (Jorge Ben “Jorge Benjor”) – Jorge Ben
07 – Desafinado (Tom Jobim / Newton Mendonça) – Wanda Sá
08 – Maria Moita (Carlos Lyra / Vinicius de Moraes) – Nara Leão
09 – Berimbau (Baden Powell / Vinicius de Moraes) – Oscar Castro Neves
As the liner notes explain, this concert was recorded less than two months after the military coup that plunged the country into twenty-plus years of repression and censorship. Brazil already having undergone its share of rapid power shifts across the first half of the twentieth century, a lot of people still thought (or hoped) it was a temporary state of affairs. (Actually the generals who took over the country promised to hold elections after they had the situation ‘under control’, which of course never happened except in the most artificial of ways years later). It is surprising to read in these notes how this show was not only sold out but — being that the Paramount only held about 2000 people or so — that people were breaking the glass in doors and windows to force their way in! ! Anyway, the music here is excellent and has some real rarities. Alaíde Costa, still the most underrated of the bossa nova chanteuses, opens the recorded set. Zimbo Trio, led by bassist Luiz Chaves, run through a ripping version of ‘A Garota de Ipanema’ that makes me forget how tired I am of hearing that song — I could be mistaken but I believe that they were the first bossa-jazz trio to play an instrumental version of the tune… Paulinho Nogueira provides a solo acoustic guitar medley of tunes that probably goes on for too long. I have a couple of Nogueira’s albums on vinyl and I like him well enough, they are enjoyable, but he often comes across as a diluted and derivative version of Baden Powell or sometimes João Gilberto (when he sang) combined, without the inspiration or innovation of either of those two. He did however bring a different type of finger-picking style to the way he played samba that is different from Baden.
A nice thing about this record is that we get some of the less famous bossa nova singers who haven’t been canonized into musical sainthood like their brethren, names like Ana Lúcia, Rosinha da Valença, and Wanda, whose records can be hard to track down. Jorge Ben’s live version of “Chove Chuva” is slower and more jazzed-out than the album version, and its quite a treat given how early in his career this is. Note that this track was NOT included in the 2-CD set of rarities that was part of the boxset ‘Salve, Jorge!’ from 2009. Nara Leão is amazing as always singing Maria Moita, and the sound quality on this track is amazing. In fact the whole record sounds great but this one stands out for some reason. The album closes with ten minutes of Oscar Castro Neves’ group giving a majestic treatment of “Berimbau” that includes a full orchestral arrangement in the middle. Too bad all the musicians are uncredited, especially since the guitar sounds.. familiar. Almost like it might be Baden Powell. Who played on a lot of albums uncredited. Hmmm…

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Som 3 – Som/3 (1966)

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SOM / 3
SOM 3
1966 Som Maior (SMLP – 1518)
Reissue 2005 as Som Livre 0238-2

1 Samblues (César Camargo Mariano)
2 Canto de Ossanha (Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
3 Na baixa do sapateiro (Ary Barroso)
4 O bôlo (Walter Santos, Tereza Souza)
5 Um minuto (Sabá, Antoninho)
6 Cidade vazia (Luiz F. Freire, Baden Powell)
7 Deixa pra lá (Luiz F. Freire, Sérgio Augusto)
8 Tema 3 (César Camargo Mariano)
9 Cristina (César Camargo Mariano)
10 O morro não tem vez (Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes)
11 Margarida B (César Camargo Mariano)

Before pianist Cesár Camargo Mariano would go on to greater fame as the keyboardist, arranger, and husband of singer Elis Regina, he also worked with Lenny Dale and Claudette Soares, and was a founding member of bossa jazz trios Sambalança (with Airto Morreira)and Som 3. This is the first-rate debut bossa jazz album from the latter trio Som/3 (later spelled Som Três) which was comprised of Mariano (piano), Sabá (bass) and Toninho (drums). All the tunes are rather short but still manage to incorporate some gripping jazz riffing. In particular, Baden Powell’s “Canto de Osanna” is given a really lovely treatment here. The classic Ary Barroso samba “Na baixa do sapateiro” gets a gorgeously laid-back swinging groove. Tom Jobim’s and Vinicius’ “O Morro Não Tem Vez” gets funkified full of blue notes and somehow manages to sound like samba in the end anyway. The album kicks off with a an original from César, the amphetamine-jazz of “Samblues.” The original pieces on the album, of which there are plenty, are all pretty excellent, and include one written exclusively by the Sabá and Toninho (Um minuto) that makes me wonder why they didn’t contribute more compositions. Som Três continued to put out albums until the early 70s, some of which are now very rare, and developing a more commercial style that incorporated vocals along with jazz-bossa versions of popular tunes (in particular some groovy versions of Jorge Ben songs). But for jazz fans, this first album is the place to start.

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