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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Baden Powell – Apresentando Baden Powell e Seu Violão (1961)

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Baden Powell
Apresentando Baden Powell e Seu Violão
1961 Philips 630 415 L 
2003 Remaster

 1 Stella by starlight (Victor Young)
2 Amor sincopado (Marino Pinto, Chico Feitosa)   
3 Estrellita (Manuel Ponce)   
4 Na Baixa do Sapateiro  (Ary Barroso)   
5 Lover  (R.Rodgers, L.Hart)
6 Maria (Ary Barroso)
7 My funny valentine  (L.Hart, R.Rodgers)   
8 Love letters (Victor Young, Edward Heyman)
9 Samba triste  (Baden Powell, Billy Blanco)   
10 Aquellos ojos verdes  (N.Menendez)   
11 Carinhoso  (Pixinguinha)   
12 All the things you are (Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein)
=========================================

A small post just to remind you I’m still here.  Although Baden Powell was no neophyte by the time this was recorded in 1959, this was the first record released under his own name.  And to be honest, it’s utterly forgettable.  The fact that Philips waited two years to release it indicates that there’s probably a good story there, perhaps one involving artistic direction or marketing, but not one that I happen to know.  Baden Powell experts are welcome to explain it.  Or just make something up if you like, I’ll let you.  The fact is that this is as close to “light” music as Baden would ever get, playing against a backdrop of pop string arrangements,  without any of the urgency and intensity we associate with him.  There’s still some great guitar playing here, of course, and a surprising amount of blues and bop flourishes sprinkled throughout.  But there is no fire and no smoke.

Hey there are LOTS of tunes associated with the golden age of Hollywood on this record, with forays into the Rogers and Hart, Kern and Hammerstein songbooks.  I’ve put together a little list of films and plays where some of these songs first became well known –

1 – The Uninvited  (1944)
5 – Love Me Tonight (1932)
8 – Love Letters (1945)
12 – Broadway Rhythm (1944), A Letter For Evie (1945), written for Very Warm For May (Broadway production, 1939)

There is only one original composition on this record, Samba triste co-written with Billy Blanco and sung by an alternating male and female chorus dressed in coat-tails and Capri pants.  Yet another unnecessary version of “Carinhoso” also graces the record in an arrangement suited for a Les Baxter or Martin Denny album.

It should be noted that in spite of the title, the red-haired, blue-eyed beauty on the cover of the album is not Baden Powell.

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Reposts – Sept 26, 2013

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From top left to bottom right:

 Antonio Adolfo e Brazuca (1970)
João Nogueira (1972)
Paulo Moura – Fibra (1971)
Ray Barretto – Indestructable (1973)
Bobby Hutcherson – Now! (1969) 
Alaíde Costa – Canta Suavamente (1960)

Some reups for all of you while I am busy with other things.  Please report any erroneous links you come across, cheers.

Paulinho da Costa – Agora (1977)

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Paulinho da Costa
AGORA
Released 1977 on Pablo (2310-785)
OJC Reissue 1991

A1         Simbora     8:44    
A2         Terra     4:23    
A3         Toledo Bagel     5:50    
B1         Berimbau Variations     3:50    
B2         Belisco     6:54    
B3         Ritmo Number One 8:27

Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1991, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).

Recorded at Kendun Studios, Burbank, California (August 6 through 16, 1976). Includes liner notes by David Griffin and Paulinho Da Costa.

Recording information: Kendun Studios, Burbank, CA (08/06/1976-08/16/1976).
Arrangers: Erich Bulling; Claudio Slon ; Paulinho Da Costa; Steve Huffsteter .

Personnel:
Paulinho da Costa (vocals, whistling, berimbau, tamboura, ocarina, congas, bongos, cuica, guiro, pandeiro, reco-reco, shaker, surdo, triangle, wood block, percussion, waterphone);
Octavio Bailly, Jr. (vocals, bass);
Claudio Slon (vocals, synthesizer, drums, water drum, timabales, percussion);
Larry Williams (saxophone, flute);
Steve Huffsteter,
Gene Goe (trumpet, flugelhorn);
Mike Julian, Frank Rosolino (trombone);
Greg Phillinganes (acoustic and electric pianos); Lee Ritenour (guitar).

——————–

Nothing mind-blowing here but this is a solid record from a guy with a lot more album credits than he has records as a bandleader.  Having played with Brazilian greats like Elza Soares and Martinha da Vila, by this time Paulinho da Costa was well entrenched in the slick LA jazz studio-musician scene.  That slickness threatens to over saturate this entry on the Pablo label but Paulinho’s energy on percussion manages to pull it back from the brink more often than not.  The opening “S’imbora” may not hook you immediately with its crystalline jazz-funk fusion but by the end of it you would be hard-pressed not to admit they are cooking something savory.  “Terra” is one of two percussion-centric cuts here, this one consisting of a dinner-party Santeria or Candomblé groove; the other, “Ritmo Number One” is a samba freakout and easily the most energetic thing on the album.  “Toledo Bagel” lets Paulinho prove his mettle as a salsero.  “Berimbau Variations” is more than what its title implies. It opens up with an otherworldly swell of notes and features an interesting flute riff in a pretty tightly-composed piece clocking in a three and a half minutes.  The band here are all more than capable but somewhat lifeless and restrained for the material, perhaps due to their California studio habitus they just can’t manage to break out.  Keys player Greg Phillinganes (who has some sweet credits with Roy Ayers, Syreeta, Harvey Mason and others) gets some good runs on the electric piano but doesn’t really cut it playing salsa on the acoustic piano.  Larry Williams (Seawind, Shiela E., Michael Jackson) has a nice solo on “Belisco” but elsewhere his playing tends towards nondescript. Steve Huffsteter (Willie Bobo, Shorty Rogers, Moacir Santos and many more) is under-utilized here in my opinion although he gets to employ his arranging skills to great effect on “Belisco.”  Lee Ritanour is still Lee Ritanour.  Drummer Cláudio Slon is a fine drummer and also played with Paulinho in Sergio Mendes’ Brasil ’77 group, so it is kind of surprising that they don’t sound more ‘in the pocket’ here.  I think the issue is the mix:  Cláudio’s drum kit is tucked away under the other instruments, foregrounding Paulinho – it is his session, after all – but I think if they had pushed him forward a few decibels it would have given the tracks more impact.  

All in all this is a strong record.  His Pablo release “Muito Bem!” with Joe Pass gets a “pass” from me in spite of seeming like it might be a promising record.  His second record as a bandleader, “Happy People” (not to be confused with the Brazilian-themed Cannonball Adderley album) is also pretty good.

Os Cobras – O LP (1964)

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OS COBRAS
O LP

Released 1964 on RCA (BBL-1290) in Brazil
Reissue 2005 Sony-BMG France
In GLORIOUS MONOPHONIC

01 – Quintessência (J. T. Meirelles)
02 – Nanã (Moacir Santos / Mário Telles)
03 – Depois de Amro (Orlann Divo / Roberto Jorge)
04 – Adriana (Roberto Menescal / Luis Fernando Freire)
05 – Praia (Orlann Divo / Roberto Jorge)
06 – Uganda (Orlann Divo / Roberto Jorge)
07 – The Blues Walk (C. Brown)
08 – 40 Graus (Orlando Costa ”Maestro Cipó”)
09 – Chão (Amaury Tristão / Roberto Jorge)
10 – Menina Demais (Orlann Divo / Roberto Jorge)
11 – Mar Amar (Roberto Menescal / Ronaldo Bôscoli)
12 – Moça da Praia (Roberto Menescal / Luis Fernando Freire)

Tenorio Jr. (piano)
José Carlos “Zezinho” (bass)
Milton Banana (drums)
Raul de Souza (trombone)
Hamilton (trumpet)
Meirelles (sax alto, flute)
Paulo Moura (sax alto)

Special Guests

Jorginho (flute)
Aurino (sax baritono)
Cipó (sax tenor)
Roberto Menescal (guitar on 10 & 12)
Ugo (vibraphone on 10 & 12)

————————–

Lately, in my real job,  I’ve been pushing my way through a chunk of writer’s block rough enough to leave your hands bleeding from the splinters.  That results in a few adverse effects that involve you, blog reader:  I have less time to put into writing for this place, and then when I do have free time it’s usually spent feeling like an idiot about the other stuff I’ve been working on.

But instrumental music is often the only music that I can write to when working on that “other stuff” and this record has gotten a few spins over the last month.  It’s kind of a super group, Brazilian jazz all-stars affair, the result of the label RCA-Victor approaching composer and arranger Roberto Jorge to make a record with the regular heavyweights in Rio’s jazz scene congregating around the jam sessions at places like Little Club and Bottle’s.   The result was a bold declaration of the samba-jazz sound at its best.  On the rhythm section there’s the ubiqutuous Milton Banana – Brazil’s own Art Blakey – on the drum kit, and Tenório Jr. on piano, who was also ubiquitous until he was “disappeared”  and murdered in Argentina while on tour with Vinicius & Toquinho in the mid 70s.   Zezinho is on bass, about whom I can’t tell you much of anything besides that he frequently played with Erlon Chaves.    In the way of horns, there is the brilliant Paulo Moura, whose passing a couple years ago was a huge loss for the world of music.   The guy has probably a million album credits of everything from choro to prog rock, but here we get to hear him in the same group with Meirelles, a sax man every bit his equal.  A lot of the arrangements are by Cipó, who worked with João Gilberto’s first band Garotos da Lua and also contributes one composition and a bit of tenor sax to this record.  There are also a few arrangements by Carlos Monteiro de Souza.

This album really highlights the symbiotic relationship between jazz in the United States and  samba-jazz, jazz-bossa or just jazz in Brazil.  Flows of mutual inspiration were resulting in an amazing amount of innovation and great music on both sides of the equator.  But like in many other contexts, the relationship was also lopsided and unequal.  The infatuation of American jazz for bossa nova, Brazil’s biggest musical export, unfortunately overlooked the immense variety of possibilities presented by other styles of music, such as samba.  If US jazz absorbed anything of samba, it was by way of bossa nova’s own mutations of it.   With apologies for making a simplified, unilineal argument, I’ll do it anyway and say that samba was to bossa nova what the blues was to jazz: the latter would not have existed without the former.  But the blindness to each other’s roots was reciprocal – the blues was not really in the repertoire of musical idioms available to Brazilians either, at least not in the early 60s.  Both jazz and bossa were transnational, globalized music long before anyone used that kind of language to describe them, but when you push back into their roots you find yourself at the limits of the culturally specific.  In spite of a multitude of sociological and economic similarities, a Mississippi sharecropper and a morro resident in Rio were speaking mutually unintelligible languages.

This is another record where singling out individual tracks seems almost superfluous, but their arrangements of a few classic tunes deserve pointing out.  “Naña”, one of Moacir Santos’ most gorgeous and most recorded compositions, is immediately compelling with Tenório’s sparse deconstruction of the chord sequence opening the tune before the lush harmonies of sax, trumpet and flute come in on the main melody.  Remind me some time to post Santos’ “Coisas” album here, as it’s essential listening that makes a lot of the “top 100” lists that people are always making.  Incidentally, Moacir Santos played in a completely unrelated combo calling themselves Os Cobras, who made a one-off album in 1960 and then disappeared.

Another ear-catching track is a version of Clifford Brown’s signature tune, “The Blues Walk”, proving that these guys hold their own on straight bop.  The album is infused with bop throughout, especially noticeable in Meirelles’s own composition “Quintessence” and “Praia” from Orlann Divo & Roberto Jorge, which still sound fresh.  They may start out a bit reverent playing Brown’s tune, but the sense of playfulness and fun soon overtakes everything else. This is followed by the Cipó composition “40 graus” which except for its choruses bears more than a passing resemblance to the rocking samba-jazz-bossa that J.T. Meirelles was making with Jorge Ben at the time.  It’s also the longest track here, clocking in at a whopping four and a half minutes.  The record closes with a short pretty composition by Luiz Fernando Freire and Roberto Menescal (“Moça da praia”, apparently a favorite theme of the bossa crowd), who also features on acoustic guitar.

Using the original liner notes, translated into French for this pressing, it is possible to reconstruct who plays what solo on which tunes.  Anyone who feels so inclined to do so is welcome to compile it and send it to me, and I’ll happily post it here.  As for me, it’s time to get back to chipping away at that writer’s block.

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