João Gilberto – O amor, o sorriso, e a flor (1960) (Odeon MOFB 3151)

João Gilberto – O amor, o sorriso e a flor
1960 Odeon – MOFB 3151
This pressing, early 1970’s, mono mix

A month ago, the world mourned the loss of a gentle musical soul,  and an icon of a Brazil that ceased to exist long ago.  Like many others, discovering João Gilberto’s music beyond the Getz/Gilberto album was a major “event” in my life that made me want to understand more about a country that could produce such a messenger of raw beauty.  Twenty-odd years later and I am still coming to grips with understanding the place – as are many Brazilians these days – but this much is certain:  Brazil will never produce another João Gilberto. Continue reading

Som Três – Som Três Show (1968) (BOM24183)

Som Tres – Som Tres Show (1968)
Original: 1968 Odeon MOFB 3541
Reissue: 2010 Bomba Records, Japan – BOM24183
Originally Odeon MOFB 3541

1. Leonardo
2. Falsa Baiana
3. Amazonas (Keep Talking)
4. The World Goes On
5. The Look Of Love
6. Frevo Rasgado
7. Jungle
8. Sá Marina
9. Watch What Happens
10. Emília
11. Balanço Zona Sul Continue reading

Dora Lopes – Enciclopédia da Gíria (1957 Mocambo)

Dora Lopes – Enciclopédia da Gíria
Mocambo / Rozenblit 1957

Is this a Pride Month post?  Sort of, because Dora Lopes was possibly the first “out” singer in Brazilian popular music.   But this record was  before anyone outside Rio scenesters knew or cared about her sexuality, and even before she was the proprietor of O Caixotinho, one of Rio’s first lesbian nightclubs that served the Copacabana area beginning in the second half of the 60s.  This 1957 album is notable for other reasons, like being released on the small Recife imprint Mocambo, and for the fact that Dora gets composer credits on all but a couple songs here in a era when women songwriters were not the norm.  The songs and arrangements fit more in the jazz-samba world than the nascent bossa nova scene. Continue reading

Walter Wanderley Trio – Chegança (1966) (1971 reissue)

The Walter Wanderley Trio – Cheganca
Original release 1966 on Verve
1971 Reissue MGM Records
Series: MGM Latino Series – 10,010 MGS 610

Like many musicians looking for reprieve from the turmoil of mid-60s Brazil, keyboardist Walter Wanderley had left the country and settled in the United States.   He emigrated at the behest of Creed Taylor and made half a dozen albums for Verve. Most of them can be classed under ‘lounge’ or ‘exotica’ music, which has its own charms, although often as sweet as the half ton of bagged sugar featured on the front of this album.  But “Chegança” is more like the bossa-jazz records Wanderley made in Brazil and has much less of the Creed Taylor background-music schmaltz factor.   The whole band grooves together.  There is appropriately unsubtle cuica playing on O Ganso (“The Goose”)  The highlight, though,  is still the organ playing.  Have a listen to the solo in “Você e eu” below. Continue reading

Joyce – Feminina (1980) (EMI Japan 2016)

folderJoyce
Feminina

Recorded     January 1980
Original release on Odeon
This reissue: EMI JAPAN / UICY-76389

1.     “Feminina”       (Joyce)     3:48
2.     “Mistérios”       (Joyce, Maestro)     4:32
3.     “Clareana”       (Joyce )    2:50
4.     “Banana”       (Joyce)     4:16
5.     “Revendo Amigos”      ( Joyce)     3:20
6.     “Essa Mulher”       (Joyce, Terra)     3:32
7.     “Coração de Criança”       (Joyce, Leporace)     3:13
8.     “Da Cor Brasileira”       (Joyce, Terra)     2:12
9.     “Aldeia de Ogum”       (Joyce)     4:34
10.     “Compor”       (Joyce )    2:19

Joyce – Vocals, guitar, arrangements
Fernando Leporace – Bass, vocals
Tutti Moreno – Drums, percussion
Mauro Senise – Flute, saxophones
Lize Bravo – Vocals
Claudio Guimaraes – Guitar
Gilson Peranzzetta – Arrangements
Helio Delmiro – Guitar
Paulo Guimaraes, Jorginho, Danilo Caymmi – Flute
Helvius Vilela – Piano

Producer     Jose Milton
Arrangements –  Maurício Maestro


The somewhat ufanista groover “Banana” which can also double as a shopping list.  This song (and Clareana as well) dates back to earlier sessions she had done with Maurício Maestro that also featured Naná Vasconcelos

It is Easter Monday and that is as good a reason as any for F.Vibes to revive a little.  I suppose if you were to compare Joyce (né Joyce Moreno) to anyone in the Anglo-American musical universe, it might be Joni Mitchell.  Both are phenomenal songwriters and instrumentalists in a male-dominated field where women are often confined to the roles of vocalist and/or window dressing.  Both of them are also quite beautiful women who declined to use their sensuality to sell records.  How that may or may not relate to their career paths, which often perched between cult status and superstar, is something I will leave others to ponder.  While there is no doubt that Joyce has done quite well for herself, she probably has more name recognition outside her home country, particularly in Europe and Japan where she is something of an ambassador for Brazilian musical sophistication and the style called “hard bossa” that she plays.  In Brazil she may be best known for the big hit off this album, Clareana.  It was written for her children and ebullient with the nearly manic joys of motherhood, a song that impresses by its loveliness at first but may become a sticking point on later listens.  By which I mean your audio player of choice may seem like it’s been dunked in sticky honey or molasses for that 2 minutes and 50 seconds while you wait for the album to move on to more nutritious fare.  The album also features a song that would become one of Elis Regina’s last hits in her truncated life, “Essa Mulher”, which (it almost goes without saying ) is performed here by Joyce with less of the wild-eyed intensity that Elis gave to it. Feminina is a milestone in Joyce’s career and has top-notch performances from everyone involved (especially her future husband, Tutti Moreno), and exquisite arrangements from Maurício Maestro.  But it also stays in pretty safe territory, exhibiting little of the experimentalism of some of her earlier work.  I suppose this is what some critics would then call a more “mature sound,” whatever that means.  It is certainly top-shelf MPB in an era when many of the big names of that genre were in a bit of a slump, and has gobs of the excitement and energy of youth that had been bled from some of her contemporaries

I’ve been slacking with posting here on this blog lately, and since this album has been on the “to do list” for years, I’m not quite satisfied with my little summary above.  Not that I ever consider these posts to be the final word about anything, but I figure I will feature this interesting take on Feminina found on another blog, which I am including here with full attribution, and without correcting their typos or errors in the Portuguese.  Here it goes:


From Tinymixtapes.com
http://www.tinymixtapes.com/music-review/joyce-feminina

In 1980, Brazil still held some semblance of a military government. Public life was, in some ways free, although one could be sure that the eyes and ears of Big Brother were always near. Strong notions of machismo prevented women from assuming positions of societal power or influence. And the carioca singer, Joyce Silveira Palhano de Jesus released Feminina. The album’s creation was no act of innocence. Joyce’s music had been censored amid Brazil’s tense political situation through out the 1970’s; forcing her to record offshore in Italy and New York. Feminina initially met a similar reception, through its confrontation with political and social authoritarianism, even though the album stabbed at the eye of repression in Brazil without uttering a syllable of contempt. In fact there’s no rancor to be found in her words at all. Rather, Joyce used a far more cunning confrontational device: celebration.

Feminina, with its infusion of samba and jazz into a palate of jubilant traditional folk, celebrates being a woman; as well as being Brazilian. It’s an ode to the souls and the intellect hidden away by failed governments and their over zealous censorship. The quick, merry acoustic guitar of the opening title song warms us to Joyce’s cause. There is the sweetest plea in her voice as she asks “O mao/Me explica/Me ensina/Me diz/O que e feminine (Oh mother/Explain to me/Teach me/Tell me/What is a woman).” All the while flutes and a Latin rhythm section climb and fall like gulls above the ocean. “Banana” and “Aldeia de ogum” continue in this vain with thrilling cascades of Joyce’s vocals and frenetic strum patterns. The album’s centerpiece, however, is the thoroughly enchanting, “Clareana.” Written as a lullaby for her two daughters, (Clara and Ana) the song wisps and soars with Joyce’s idiosyncratic gentleness. It’s easy to imagine Joyce sitting at the side of her daughter’s bed, lightly stroking her hairs telling her, “No sol de manha/Novelo de la/No ventre de mae/Bate o coracao de Clara, Ana (The morning sun/A ball of yarn/In the mother’s womb/It beats like the heart of Clara, Ana).”

Upon the release of Feminina, Joyce was already an accomplished musician, playing in bands since the mid 1970’s and having performed with such stars as Gal Costa and Vinicius de Moaes. To say that she adopted elements of jazz, bossa, samba, and blues into her bare acoustic melodies would be a gross miscue. Instead, she bore these styles into something new. For this reason Feminina, as well as many of her other albums retain a fresh identity; undergoing a perpetual evolution and never aspiring to record anything static and crystalline. In 1985, the moribund military government of Brazil was voted out of power. Democracy returned and Brazilian’s could be left again to collectively determine the course of their country. As a rich culture heritage re-emerged to the world so did the carioca singer, Joyce.


Okay then.  Have a listen and see what you think for yourself.


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