Maysa – Maysa, Amor… e Maysa (1961) Mono Vinyl

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MAYSA, AMOR… E MAYSA

Maysa (1961)

RGE XRLP 5121

1 Estou para dizer adeus

(Benil Santos, Raul Sampaio)

2 Quem quiser encontrar o amor

(Carlos Lyra, Geraldo Vandré)

3 Quizas, quizas, quizas

(Oswaldo Farrés)

4 Chorou, chorou

(Luiz Antônio)

5 I love Paris

(Cole Porter)

6 Raizes

(O. Guilherme, Denis Brean)

7 Murmúrio

(Djalma Ferreira, Luiz Antônio)

8 Besame mucho

(Consuelo Velazquez)

9 É fácil dizer adeus

(Tito Madi)

10 Chão de estrelas

(Silvio Caldas, Orestes Barbosa)

Vinyl First Pressing -> Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply) > Creek Audio OBH-15 -> M-Audio Audiophile 2496 Soundcard -> Adobe Audition 3.0 at 24-bits 96khz -> Click Repair light settings, additional clicks and pops removed in Audition -> dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced -> ID Tags done in foobar2000 v.1.0.1 and Tag & Rename. No EQ or compression.

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Time for a break from the flood of Marcos Valle! This post was actually prepared and written months ago, but somehow I never got around to actually posting it. So, here it is, from a tasty damn-near perfect promo copy of this 1961 LP.

Although strictly speaking Maysa’s work is not jazz, her vocal phrasing (dramatic and filled with vibrato), the instrumentation, and the arrangements on this one are enough to convince me that she fits nicely alongside any other vocal jazz crooner out there. Maysa, whose life story was interesting enough that they made a TV mini-series about, began her singing career quite young — essentially being disowned by her wealthy family for it, since `respectable ladies` from Brazil`s upper class in the 1950s didn’t do things such as sing in night clubs. She was already well respected as a chanteuse of Brazilian romantic and popular song when the bossa nova wave hit the shores, and she quickly incorporated the sounds and repertoire, most famously in her recording of `O barquinho` which resulted in an album that is a touchstone of bossa nova.

This album has become one of my favorites of hers. I just love the lushness and simplicity of the arrangements and instrumentation, the coloration added by the stray jazzista solo. A violin solo here, funky organ chords, trap kits played with brushes, and a voice like velvet. It’s quite possible that the estimable Walter Wanderley is on organ here too. A repertoire that covers some classic composers of Brazilian romantic song and samba canção, bossa nova, and music from elsewhere in Latin America — her recording of “Quizas, quizas, quizas” was actually among the first handful of versions of this song that would end up being recorded probably hundreds of times (including many anglicized versions) The album closes with one of the most poetic tunes in the Brazilian canon, by the master of ‘seresta’ ou ‘serenata’, Silvio Caldas – somebody whose work I have really been getting into: “Chão de Estrelas” was his signature song and a master composition, and Maysa gives it a royal treatment here.

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Toquinho e Vinicius – O Poeta e o Violão (1975)

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O POETA E O VIOLÃO (1975)
TOQUINHO E VINICIUS
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RGE (303.0032)

1 Tristeza
(Haroldo Lobo, Niltinho)
2 Marcha da quarta-feira de cinzas
(Carlos Lyra, Vinicius de Moraes)
3 Morena flor
(Toquinho, Vinicius de Moraes)
4 Chega de saudade
(Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes)
5 Dora
(Dorival Caymmi)
6 Canto de Ossanha
(Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
7 Rosa desfolhada
(Toquinho, Vinicius de Moraes)
8 Berimbau
(Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
Consolação (Baden Powell-Vinicius de Moraes)
9 Januária
(Chico Buarque)
10 Insensatez
(Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes)
11 Apelo
(Baden Powell, Vinicius de Moraes)
12 Garota de Ipanema
(Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes)
13 O velho e a flor
(Bacalov, Toquinho, Vinicius de Moraes)
14 Nature Boy
(Eden, Ahbez)

Toquinho (Antônio Pecci Filho) – guitar and vocal
Vinicius de Moraes – vocal

Luis Enríquez Bacalov – piano on “O velho e a flor”

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TRANSCRIPTION INFO

Vinyl -> Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply) > Creek Audio OBH-15 -> M-Audio Audiophile 2496 Soundcard -> Adobe Audition 3.0 at 24-bits 96khz -> Click Repair light settings, additional clicks and pops removed in Audition -> dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced -> ID Tags done in foobar2000 v.1.0.1 and Tag & Rename. No EQ or compression.

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It’s a simple enough idea, and it works beautifully. Take these two masters, these two entities incorporating the bohemian culmination of seventeen years of the bossa nova lifestyle known as Vinicius and Toquinho, and put them in a room with nothing but a guitar and some microphones and have them play for four hours. This album plays like we are listening in on a rehearsal or a casual backstage jam session with all the tunes spun off the cuff, but if you listen carefully the sheen of spontaneity dims a little as you realize there is no way that these two — especially the old lush, Vinicius – could have nailed all these tracks so angelically in one take. On their earliest collaborations, Toquinho and Vinicius didn’t always sound this confident in their vocals and often brought in one or another chanteuse to fill the spotlight (Maria Bethania, Maria Cruesa, Miucha). The tracklist is a leisurely stroll through the bossa nova songbook, and the in-between song banter makes it sound like they are deciding on the repetoire right there on the spot. But, again, I ain’t buying it. The song choices, sequence, and arrangments are just too damn perfect – but this is a compliment and not a complaint. The only slightly false step is `Chega de saudade`, to which they add a whole lot of nothing special. Among the other song interpretations that do NOT have the name of Vinicius in the credits, is a respectable version of Chico Buarque’s “Januária”, jazz standard, Nat King Cole hit and touchstone of the bossa nova crowd “Nature Boy,” and a tune from Caymmi, “Dora.” The latter is one of Dorival Caymmi’s rare compositions that is *not* about Bahia but instead is an homage to the city of Recife. The remainder of the tunes dip into all of Vinicius’ famous writing partnerships – Tom Jobim, Carlos Lyra, and especiallY Baden Powell. Toquinho’s guitar playing may not have had the mercurial energy and vision of Powell, but he has a great sense of dynamics and a lovely voice that blends excellently with Vinicius, giving an urgency and excitement to ‘Canto de Ossanha” and “Berimbau” that do justice to everyone involved, and in the case of “Apelo” make the song particularly suited to the style of this duo.

It pays to remember that in 1975, there were not yet thousands of coffee shops, restaurants, airports and the like with some poor sap paid to sit on a stool plunking away at “Garota de Ipanema.” I sometimes feel empathy for these poor souls, unless they have decided to accompany themselves with a drum machine or sequencer, in which case I silently curse them and all of their offspring for seven generations. But I digress. Even without the official designation of this song to background restaurant dinner music (which, in fact, most likely had already occurred by 1975), there is just not a lot of room to make this song terribly interesting beyond the first, initial burst of recordings by singers and jazz-bossa combos. But Toquinho and Vinicius manage to give it a bit of a nudge back into relevance and remind us that we are, after all, listening to masters of the genre. Last but not least, the songs that Toquinho and Vinicius actually composed together are likely to lose place to their more famous brethren on this record, and there are only three selections out of fourteen songs represented here. But those three demonstrate that not only could they hold their own in the company of ‘the classics’ but that their partnership was really onto something during the first half of the 1970s. “Morena flor” featuring heavily their interwoven vocal harmonies; “Rosa desfolhada” is more of a solo vehicle for Toquinho and had heavy overtones of Chico; the penultimate track on the album “O velho e a flor” is one of the most interesting, as it also features Argentinian composer and arranger Luis Bacalov on the piano. (The casual between song banter becomes rather tongue-in-cheek here as Bacalov just *happens* to be hanging around the studio, and with a piano, to help them out…)

This album was recorded in Milan, Italy. As per the back cover:
“This album was recorded in 4 hours of studio time in Milan with the special participation of mestres Bacalov and Bardotti, in a climate of total distraction.”

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Alaide Costa – Canta Suavamente (1960)

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“On Alaíde Costa’s second LP, the singer loaned her suave voice to the masters of bossa nova, a movement that was still establishing itself in that year of 1960. People like Roberto Menescal, Ronaldo Bôscoli, Carlos Lyra, Sérgio Ricardo, Chico Feitoso, alongside – of course – Tom Jobim and his partners Newton Mendonça and Aloysio de Oliveira. What is interesting is that Alaíde’s interpretations mixed the delicacy of her timbre with the intensity of someone who grew up hearing the samba-canções and boleros on the radio waves of the 1950s. On this CD, she sings some of the first versions of “Discussão,” “Chora Tua Tristeza” and “Fim de Noite”
– Rodrigo Faour, back cover of the reissue

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ALAÍDE CANTA SUAVEMENTE
1960 RCA Victor (BBL 1062)

This is Alaíde Costa’s second long-player record. Her first album was largely put together at the instigation of João Gilberto, who saw in her a perfect vehicle for the emergent bossa nova movement. Previously she had recorded a few 78’s including the tune ‘Tarde Demais’ ((Hélio Costa/Anita Andrade), and Gilberto heard something special that he felt he had to tap into. It is not hard to imagine why. Unlike Elizete Cardoso, whose career was already well-established when she first cut her version of ‘Chega de Saudades’, here was a brand new talent whose musical identity had yet to be ossified into one genre or another. Moreover, unlike Cardoso’s brash, powerful voice, Alaíde Costa had a lightness and subtlety that must have seemed to João’s ears as tailor-made for the new music they were creating. The first album she made for RCA, ‘Gosta de Voce’ (1959) featured tunes from Gilberto, Carlos Lyra,Bôscoli, Tom & Vinicius, and also classics from Dolores Duran and other ancestors. This second album was even more a full-fledged Bossa Nova album (in capital letters) and among its highlights are lovely versions of Jobim’s “Esquecendo Você” and the often-recorded “Dindi” and Carlos Lyra’s “Ciúme.” As Rodrigo Faour notes in the reissue jacket (translated above) this album also debuted some classics of bossa nova like “Discusão” and “Fim da Noite” the former a partnership between Jobim and the short-lived Newton Mendonça.

It is a bit baffling to me that Alaíde Costa’s legacy and importance to bossa nova is not as celebrated as it ought to be. To some extent it may have something to do with her having to drop out of music for nearly quite a few years in the late sixties and early seventies due to health problems — She suffered some extensive hearing damage and loss when she attended a Who concert in São Paulo in 1968 and was positioned right in front of Pete Townsend’s amplifier when he began smashing his guitar.