Jose Roberto e Seu Conjunto – Organ Sound, Um Novo Estilo (1970)


  José Roberto e Seu Conjunto
Organ Sound, Um Nôvo Estilo
Released 1970 Polydor
Japanese reissue 2008

01 – Aventura
02 – Smile a Little Smile for Me.
03 – Airport Love Theme
04 – Toboga
05 – Jingle, Jangle
06 – Viagem
07 – Samanta
08 – No Time
09 – Diamante cor de Rosa
10 – The Rapper
11 – Mon Ami
12 – Always Something There to Remind Me

This is pre-Azymuth José Roberto Bertrami.  He was working as a studio musician at the time and was probably on a hundred records you have in your collection, many without being credited.  Before this he was in the band A Turma da Pilantragem.

This is nice organ combo pop-jazz with an occasional bossa flair and spasms of funkiness.  Aside from the tracks “Aventura” and “Mon Ami”, which are his own, everything else here is comprised of other composer’s work.   Kind of easy-listening and loung-y but with just enough instrumental prowess and creative arrangements to keep it interesting.  His playing may not be nearly as inventive as what he would produce with Azymuth only a few years later, but Bertrami still coaxes enough otherworldly sounds out of his keyboards to prove why he was an in-demand session player.  In particular he has a penchant for using a horn patch on his analog synth that doubles the part played by actual brass instruments, which adds a loopy and campy touch.

The majority of the repertoire is taken straight from the Hit Parade of 1969-70 and represent a pretty interesting cross section of psychedelic rock, pop, and even an ‘easy listening’ soundtrack hit.  I’ve taken the trouble to notate the cover songs’ origins:

Smile a Little Smile for Me – The Flying Machine
Airport Love Theme – Vincent Bell, from the soundtrack to the film “Airport”, 1970
Jingle, Jangle – The Archies
No Time -The Guess Who
Diamante cor de Rosa – Roberto Carlos
The Rapper – The Jaggerz
Always Something There to Remind Me  (Bacharach/David tune recorded by Dionne Warwick, Sandie Shaw, and R.B.Greaves at Muscle Shoals.  Hard to say which version Bertrami had in mind but Greaves’ version was the most recent.)

Amusingly enough, the most exciting of these cover tunes is “Jingle Jangle” from the virtual cartoon band The Archies, which is replete with fuzz guitar.

The tune “Mon Ami” was featured as a theme to the Globo telenovela “Assim na terra como no céu” in 1970 in a version produced by Paulinho Tapajós.  As I’ve stated before on this blog, the study of telenovela soundtrack music — and it is a subject that deserves series study – is not one I’ve undertaken.  Not yet, anyway.  But I have a hunch that a lot of these Top 40 international hits were associated with contemporary telenovelas that would have made them instantly recognizable to a Brazilian audience even if their originals unknown.  Did ‘The Archies’ air on Brazilian TV?  I have no idea.  For that matter the Roberto Carlos hit was also part of a feature film vehicle for him with the same title.  The two songs credited to ‘Celinho’ are a mystery to me.  There was a Celinho from the state of Ceará who played the accordion and recorded a bunch of tunes in the era of 78s, but I’m fairly certain these aren’t his songs.  Anyone who knows, drop me a line.

This Japanese reissue has typically lovely, round sound.  It’s too bad I can’t read the notes in Japanese though.  It would be nice to know if the musicians are credited.  I suspect Victor Manga is on the drums but I have no confirmation, but he did play in the Turma de Pilantragem.

{edit} As per a comment left below by a reader, I’m updating the post with the following info on the lineup: Jonas Damasceno (Joninhas), Ivan Conti (Mamão), Luiz Carlos Siqueira –
all from “The Youngsters” band – plus the late Gegê on drums and Sergio
Barroso on bass.

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Pixinguinha – Som Pixinguinha (1971)

“Som Pixinguinha”

1971 Odeon
2003 Remaster / Odeon 100 Anos
1 Um a zero
(Benedito Lacerda, Pixinguinha)
2 Desprezado
3 O gato e o canário
(Benedito Lacerda, Pixinguinha)
4 Samba fúnebre
(Vinicius de Moraes, Pixinguinha)
5 Gargalhada
6 Urubatan
(Benedito Lacerda, Pixinguinha)
7 Pula sapo
8 Carinhoso
(Pixinguinha, João de Barro)
9 De mal pra pior
(Hermínio Bello de Carvalho, Pixinguinha)
10 Odeon
(Ernesto Nazareth)
11 Samba do urubu

Finally, for the first time in this blog, a contribution from one of the most important figures in twentieth-century music (particularly in a place called Brazil) – Alfredo da Rocha Viana Jr., better known as Pixinguinha.

While Pixinguinha’s name and many of his compositions may be ubiquitous in the history of Brazilian music, the same can’t be said for recordings that actually feature him. A great deal of his seminal recorded output was on 78 rpm and can be found on a smattering of CD collections, some of them rather rare. He made quite a few LP records in the 1950s, which are also damn hard to come by. This album, made after a period of semi-retirement and only two years before his death, is therefore a nice treat. It’s gorgeous stuff, with some odd production choices. The inclusion of organ and electric bass and bongos to make the album sound more contemporary to 1971 struck me as odd at first but that may be because I am used to hearing “purist” choro as its played these days, which is a throwback to its early 20th-century origins. There is a new composition that Pixinguinha wrote with Vinicius and all I can say about it is… too much Vinicius. “Choro funebre” probably should have died in the outtake bin and had something else take its place on this album, except that it features Paulo Mauro on sax, which earns its keep. And then there is the truly bizarre “Samba de Urubu”, which features fuzzed-out guitar and a funky thumb-piano break. As weird as that might seem for a choro record, I have to hand it to the mixing engineers — they manage to make it work, in part because the overdriven fuzzy guitars sit nestled in the mix alongside everything else rather than taking over the song, and they make judicious use of the idea rather than over-doing it. I’m not sure if there a sub-genre of ‘experimental’ or psychedelic choro but if so this tune must be a “standard” in it. A definite high point is an eight-minute version of “Carinhoso.” Along with ‘Garota de Ipanema’ (Girl From Ipanema), this has to be one of the most recorded songs of any Brazilian composer since Orlando Silva first recorded it in 1937 — so much so that (quite like Garota de Ipanema) I usually cringe when I hear the first few instantly-recognizable notes being played…. So seeing that it was stretched out to EIGHT MINUTES for this record initially made me groan with dread. But the song belongs in the hands of its maker, and the arrangement is fresh, adventurous, and impeccably recorded.

The original and extensive liner notes by Hermínio Bello de Carvalho are thankfully reproduced in their entirety in the booklet, and give a track by track description. Unfortunately for the non-Portuguese speaking (and even for lusophiles), the musician credits are couched within these notes rather than listed separately, making kind of hard to list everyone who played on this record. Please pardon me that I am not taking the hour or so it would probably take me to piece it together and type it out… Mastering is a bit loud or ‘hot’ but not overly compressed and much better than a lot of the other reissues in this series (Odeon 100 Anos).


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