João Donato – The New Sound of Brazil (1965)

PIANO OF JOÃO DONATO – THE NEW SOUND OF BRAZIL
João Donato (1965)
1965
RCA (USA)
LSP 3473
BMG/RCA reissue 2001

1 Amazon [Amazonas]
(João Donato)

2 Forgotten places [Coisas distantes]
(João Donato, João Gilberto)

3 Little boat [O barquinho]
(Roberto Menescal, Ronaldo Bôscoli)

4 Manhã de carnaval
(Antônio Maria, Luiz Bonfá)

5 Esperança perdida
(Billy Blanco, Tom Jobim)

6 And roses and roses
(Ray Gilbert, Dorival Caymmi)

7 Jungle flower [Flor do mato]
(João Donato)

8 Sugarcane Breeze [Vento no canavial]
(João Donato)

9 How insensitive [Insensatez]
(Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes)

10 Samba de Orfeu
(Antônio Maria, Luiz Bonfá)

11 Glass beads [No coreto]
(João Donato, João Gilberto)

12 It didn’t end [Não se acabou]
(João Donato)

Three years after the legendary Bossa Nova concert presentation at Carnegie Hall, the anglophone world could be said to have already been doing a backstroke in the imaginary beaches of rich countries’ exotic preconceptions of Brazil at the time. Of a country soaked in relaxing breezes and caresses of bronzed beauties, of young people strumming guitars on beaches. Of the bossa nova dream flattened into a two-dimensional comic strip and sold to the young and hip in the great white north. The aural marketplace was flooded with the sounds of Tom Jobim played on every imaginable instrument, with jazz musicians making bossa-inspired albums faster than people could buy them. And some of the movement’s original leading lights touring the US, and some of them staying there.

Perhaps it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me, then, that I would not be similarly enchanted by “The New Sound of Brazil”, João Donato’s debut as a bandleader in the US. It’s that it was recorded away from Brazil, or even that there wasn’t much “new” about the sound. That’s not the problem with it. Donato had already been living there for some years, being in many ways much more appreciated as a piano player in the US than he was in Brazil, and knew his way around the jazz community. Had he been in more control of this album, it could have been amazing.

The shame of this album is that its production was in the hands of one Andy Wiswell who (as the notes point out) had built his career working with the likes of Judy Garland, Perry Como, Harry Belafonte, and Liza Minneli, and was an expert at producing a riveting Broadway soundtrack… One glaring, unforgivable error was to kick Dom Um off the drum-kit and put him on percussion, replacing him with an American session musician. As Donato is quoted as saying in the liner notes, “Andy thought that Dom Um played ‘too Brazilian,’ and that this would jeopardize the commercial value of the album. They argued that it would be better to have an American drummer playing with an accent, because that was how people were accustomed to hearing bossa nova. I thought it was a sketchy explanation, but preferred to agree in order to avoid any hard feelings.”

Mr. Donato, with all due respect — grow a pair, already! I am kidding, it was 1965, and João seems like a laid-back kind of eccentric dude.

The string arrangements by German-born Claus Ogerman are quite good, and he would go on to work on a bunch of other notable bossa nova (and ‘post’ bossa) albums in the next decade. But even here, the production makes the strings so sugary sweet that Aspertame starts to sound like a good idea. After a while it grows on you and in fact after listening with headphones I came to appreciate the mix a little more. But, one last gripe, the instrumental contributions by Carlos Lyra and Luiz Bonfa should also be more pronounced than they are.

The disc is still worthy of any Brazil music fan’s collection. It contains the first recording of Donato’s song “Amazonas”, and several rare collaborations with João Gilberto (who, interestingly enough, did not appear on the sessions).

password: vibes

Jorge Ben – Sacudin Ben Samba (1964) [Salve, Jorge! Boxset]


SACUDIN BEN SAMBA
1964
Philips
P 632.193 L

Reissue 2009, “Salve Jorge!” Boxset

1 Anjo azul

2 Nena Naná

3 Vamos embora “Uau”

4 Capoeira

5 Gimbo

6 Carnaval triste

7 A Princesa e o plebeu

8 Menina do vestido coral

9 Pula baú

10 Jeitão de Preto Velho

11 Espero por você

12 Não desanima não

A very underrated Jorge Ben album, his second LP after the hard-to-follow debut of Samba Esquema Novo didn´t storm the pop music charts like that album, nor did it produce staples in his live repertoire. The track ‘Capoeira’ is probably the best-known of this set and has been rerecorded by quite a few other artists. The second song on this album, ‘Nena Naná’, is a bit of shameless self-plagiarizing of his own ‘Mas Que Nada’, just in case you had forgotten about that huge smash hit that would continue to be played until the end of time. On the whole this album is a lot more of a straight jazz-bossa orientation than his first album, neither a complete retread of the first but also not a conquering of new territory. The band is incredible, though, with some riveting bebop-tinged horn solos and well-lubricated rhythm arrangements. It is an essential piece of Ben’s discography and also has one of the most classic album covers ever.



Jorge Ben – Sacudin Ben Samba (1964) in 320kbs in em pee three

Jorge Ben – Sacudin Ben Samba (1964) in FLAC LOSSLESS AUDIO format

FLAC pass in comments

Gato Barbieri – Fenix (1971)

Gato Barbieri
“Fenix”
Released 1971 on Flying Dutchman (FD 10158)

Having already established himself in the vanguard of free jazz (stints with Don Cherry, an appearance on the landmark ‘Liberation Music Orchestra’ from Charlie Haden / Carla Bley), Barbieri was producing some incredible work as a bandleader by the late 60s. For some reason this album feels like an appropriate “holiday season” album to me, whatever your particular cosmological inclinations might be. The album is really part of a series of a politically-engaged, Pan-American albums whose musical sensibilities were damn unique. Barbieri’s riffing rarely drifts from the fiercer side of a Coltrane / Pharoah orientation. It’s soulful, spiritual jazz, but also angry. With Lenny White on drums, Lonnie Liston Smith on keys, and Naná Vasconcelos on congas and berimbau (Naná was, and still is, the most capable and expressive player of this instrument), you really can’t go wrong with this record. One really interesting cut is the song ‘Falsa Baiana’, written as a samba by Geraldo Pereira and made famous by Roberto Silva (to be reinterpreted later as bossa nova by João Gilberto, and in MPB’s idiom by Gal Costa and others). Gato’s rendition here, one of the calmer tracks on the album, is almost unrecognizable as he circles around the chord changes and doesn’t play the main melody until three minutes into the song. This album is a treasure for the ears and the soul, enjoy!

The BMG France reissue has the original sleeve notes from Michael Cuscuna and some newer commentary in French that I can’t really read.

Gato Barbieri – Fenix (1971) in 320kbs em pee three
Gato Barbieri – Fenix (1971) in FLAC LOSSLESS AUDIO format
PART ONE //// PART TWO

Eumir Deodato / Neco – Samba Nova Concepção (1964)

Eumir Deodato
Samba Nova Concepção
Released 1964 on Equipe label (EQ-803)
Reissue 2007 on Atração Fonográfico (ATR41035)

The inner panel that contains some info specifically about this album is barely legible in the included scan, due to the way the digipak is constructed. I have therefore taken the liberty of reproducing it here, and translating it from Portuguese to English:

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///// An album originally released on vinyl by the Equipe label in 1964, “Samba Nova Concepção” counts among its participants some of the musicians that would be join together for the band “Os Catedráticos do Samba,” that accompanied Eumir Deodato on his subsequent albums like “Impulso” and “Ataque”. Amidst those who formed the group were drummer Wilson das Neves, saxophonist Alberto Gonçalves, bassist Luiz Marinho, and Daudeth de Azevedo, also known as Neco, guitarist responsible for the disc’s arrangements and the direction of the musicians during the recording. Eumir Deodato played piano on all 12 cuts.* (see note at bottom)

In the repertoire of the album we have themes from the record “Coisas” by master Moacir Santos, such as ‘Coisa no.1″ and “Nanã (Coisa no.5), songs from representatives of Bossa Nova like Roberto Menescal, Ronaldo Boscoli, and the brothers Valle (Marcos and Sérgio), alongside one song by Jorge Ben Jor, “Capoeira”, from his second album “Sacundin Ben Samba” released the same year of 1964.

Just like all the other five discs of the Brazilian maestro and pianist released in the Coleção Galeria (on the Atração label) ……. “Samba Nova Concepção” shows the early musical production by one of the Brazilian artists most highly-esteemed outside Brazil, with his roots in bossa nova, in samba, and in jazz.

**Note: as pointed out below in the info lifted from a wonderful online discography of Deodato I’ve come across, this album was not originally released under his name but rather that of Neco — guitarist, arranger, and conductor for the sessions. That the Atração label omits this fact in their liner notes is… interesting.
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SAMBA NOVA CONCEPÇÃO
Neco
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: c. 1964
Clélio Ribeiro (tp); José Araújo (Zé Bodega) (ts); Jorge Ferreira Da Silva (Jorginho) (as,f); Emilio Baptista (as); Alberto Gonçalves (bs); Eumir Deodato (p); Daudeth de Azevedo (Neco) (g,arr,cond); Luiz Marinho (b); Wilson Das Neves (d); Jorge Arena (cga); Humberto Garin (guiro); Rubens Bassini (perc).

a. Samba No Congo (Jorge Ferreira da Silva) – 2:24
b. Adriana (Roberto Menescal/Luiz Fernando Freire) – 2:08
c. Estamos Aí (Durval Ferreira/Mauricio Einhorn) – 1:56
d. Carnaval Triste (Sergio Carvalho/Paulo Bruce) – 2:14
e. Nanã (Moacir Santos/Mario Telles) – 3:20
f. Straits Of McClellan (Don Elliott) – 3:13
g. Capoeira (Jorge Ben) – 2:23
h. Sonho De Maria (Marcos Valle/Paulo Sergio Valle) – 3:22
i. Samba A (Durval Ferreira/Mauricio Einhorn) – 2:53
j. Amor De Nada (Marcos Valle/Paulo Sergio Valle) – 2:22

same, except Euclides J. Conceição, Pedro Luiz de Assis (as); Adherbal Moreira (bs); Tenório Jr. (p).

k. Coisa No.1 (Moacir Santos/Clóvis Mello – 1:52
l. A Morte De Um Deus De Sal (Roberto Menescal/Ronaldo Bôscoli) – 3:08

Note: While the music on this album was originally released under Neco’s name (Equipe (Br) EQ-803), it has subsequently become credited in further issues and compilations to the music’s producer and pianist, Eumir Deodato (with kind thanks to Paulo Sá Pereira, musician and professor of MPB at Ribeirão Preto College – Sao Paulo, who alerted me to this fact).

Issues: a-l on Equipe (Br) EQ-803, Ubatuqui (Sp) UBCD-502 [CD], Ubatuqui (Sp) UBCD-102 [CD], Bomba (Jap) BOM-22083 [CD].
Samplers: a-j also on Irma (It) 508350-2 [CD] titled THE BOSSA NOVA SESSIONS VOL. 1. b also on Irma (It) 508814-2 [CD] titled A DAY IN RIMINI. h & j also on Irma (It) 507901-2 [CD] titled SUMMER SAMBA.
Producer: Eumir Deodato. Executive Producer: Ogide. (LP). Eumir Deodato & Arnaldo DeSouteiro (CD).
Engineer: Umberto Contardi
Notes: Myriam Conceição.

Note: As with all posts here over the last month or two, the ID TAGS included restored diacritical characters (ç, ã, é, and so on ) as well as songwriting credits on each individual track. You may need to configure your media player to see these while listening, but you can also simply right-click (on a Windows OS) and see songwriter credits under “properties”. Also note that if you decompress to WAV and archive (that means you, Simon..), as far as I know you completely lose these ID tags.

Baden Powell – Ao Vivo no Teatro Santa Isabel (1966)


Baden Powell
Ao Vivo no Teatro Santa Rosa
1966
Elenco ME-30
Reissue 2009 on Biscoito Fino

1. Abertura (Berimbau)
– Choro para metronomo
2. Astronauta
3. Valsa de Euridice
4. Preludio em re menor
5. Berimbau
6. Consolacao
7. Lamento *
8. Samba de uma nota so
9. Tempo feliz **

Group:
Musicians: Baden Powell (git, vcl **)
Carlinhos (b)
Oscar Castro Neves (p)
Victor Manga (dr)
unknown strings and flute *
unknown chorus **

Guitar Model: Author 3 by luthier Reinaldo DiGiorgio
Also published as: Samba de uma nota so (CD, 1999)
O Mestre do Violao Brasileiro (CD-Box, 2003)
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I am really liking this Baden Powell live record! Kudos to the almost-indie label Biscoito Fino for bringing it back into circulation with the reissue, although I am not totally in love with the mastering job. The artwork is a little on the sparse side too for a full-price release, basically just reproducing the info on the original back cover. But its the music that counts and this is a wonderful and (until now) rather rare album to come across. Includes Baden playing some Bach (Prelúdio em Ré Menor) and also a tune Vinicius co-wrote with Pixinguinha (Lamento). The rest of the tunes are all compositions by Baden and/or Vinicius, a lot of ‘afro-sambas.’

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From a cool German website I found called Brazil-On-Guitar:

BrazilOnGuitar says: Unfortunately, we did not find out the exact recording date of this first live record by BP. The half-hour recording in the Teatro Santa Rosa is another proof of his guitar abilities in 1966 and stands for his intense playing style. The sound quality of the recording is not the best and could not be improved significantly with the 2003 cd re-issue. However, BP’s guitar playing is so precise and exciting that the sound can be overlooked.

The recordings give the impression of a creative and very vital musician, whose life is completely devoted to music. At this time BP had developed great musicality and an impressive technique. It seems that on Teatro Santa Rosa he wanted to set other standards. In his high tempi there could be missed the depth and relaxation of later years, which is understandable thinking of his playing speed.

On 20 live recordings, five from the sixties, we can study his art of the moment. Teatro Santa Rosa is different with its repertoire and unique recordings. There is the impressive interpretation of the choro with a metronome and the overwhelming Bach prelude. His arrangements of the Afro-Sambas are wild, his Euridice sensitive. His virtuoso arrangement of Samba de uma nota so is very own and tricky. He would as well play it as an encore at the Berlin Jazzfestival in 1967. The record closes with Tempo feliz, his first recording as a singer……

…..We thank Robert G. (Germany) for his translation

Baden Powell – Swings with Jimmy Pratt (1963)

 

“Baden Powell Swings with Jimmy Pratt”
Elenco ME-4, 1963

Musicians: Baden Powell (git)
Jorge “Jorginho” Ferreira da Silva, Copinha (fl)
Moacir Santos (sax, vcl)
Sandoval (cl)
Sergio Barroso (b)
Jimmy Pratt (dr)
Rubem Bassini (perc)
unknown piano playerProduction: Aloysio de Oliveira
Direction: Jimmy Pratt
Production Manager: Peter Keller
Studio: Philips of Brasil
Sound Engineer: Norman Sternberg
Recording Technician: Celio Martins
Cover Layout: Cesar G. Villela
Photos: Francisco PereiraGuitar Model: Author 3 by luthier Reinaldo DiGiorgioAlso issued as: Developments (LP, 1970)
O Mestre do Violao Brasileiro (CD-Box, 2003)

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Flabbergasted Vinyl Transfer Specs:

Original Elenco (ME-4) pressing -> Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable / Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge / Pro-Ject Speedbox power supply -> Creek OBH-18 MM Phono Preamp -> M-Audio Audiophile 2496 soundcard. Recorded at 24-bit / 96 khz resolution to Audacity. Click Repair on very light settings to remove some clicks and popsm, some manual click removal using Audition. Track splitting in Adobe Audition 3.0. Dithered to 16-bit using iZotope M-Bit noise-shaping. Converted to FLAC and mp3 using DbPoweramp. ID tags done with Foobar2000.

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I don’t know anything about Jimmy Pratt other than he plays the skins on a whole bunch of jazz records from the 40s and 50s, having done sessions with Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Oscar Pettiford, Bud Shank, and Anita O’Day. Busy guy. But this record may be one of the most famous he played on. Partly because he essentially receives co-billing on the marquee with Baden. But also he was, in a way, in the right place at the right time to really connect with the Bossa Nova explosion.

From the back cover:

“When the drummer Jimmy Pratt was in Brazil accompanying Caterina Valente, he heard Baden play guitar like everyone that was exposed to Baden’s art, he was profoundly enthusiastic. The enthusiasm provoked the idea for this recording. And from the recording was also born a friendship and mutual admiration between the two artists. ‘Baden Powell Swings with Jimmy Pratt’ is a tribute from Baden to his friend and American colleague.” – Aloysio de Oliveira

The observent among might notice Mr. Pratt apparently did not make the photo session for the album or else closely guards his image against potential feitiço and witchcraft.. He is absent from the shots taken in the recording studio, unless we are looking at the back of his head in the shot where Vinicius de Moraes appears for no particular reason — it’s an instrumental record bereft of his lovely lyrics, he didn’t play anything, and he only has a writing credit on the very first tune, ‘Deve Ser Amor.’ Anyway, I find it amusing.

In the photo to the right of this we see Baden playing into a Neumann U-87 microphone, and looking like he wants to walk into the control room and slap somebody. I’m not sure why because it’s a great-sounding recording.

Fantastic playing from everyone involved, including Moacir Santos who contributes his own compositions, Coisas No.1 and Coisas No.2. It`s the clarinet, however, that really slays me on this record: while doing the vinyl transfer and processing, I swear I listened to Coisas No.1 about ten times in a row at one point. When you hear it you will know why. There is nothing groovier on earth.

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