João Donato – The New Sound of Brazil (1965)

João Donato (1965)
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).

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Jorge Ben – Jorge Ben (1969) [Salve, Jorge! Boxset]

Philips (R 765.100 L)

This reissue, Salve Jorge! Boxset, 2009
The Dusty Groove America pressing of this album from only a few years ago is on the blog HERE for your comparison. I have the original Philips pressing but without artwork (copy from a friend made a few years ago) if anybody is dying to compare all three pressings…

One of Jorge Ben’s best albums. The liner notes on the new reissue refer to it as a ‘comeback album’ — what they don’t tell you is that its also a ‘coming back to the Philips label’ album.. Ben had recorded one album for the United Artists label in 1967, O BIDU – SILÊNCIO NO BROOKLIN, that is not featured in this boxset for that very reason — which is really unfortunate since this boxset would otherwise be a complete document of his output up to 1976… I believe that Jorge Ben was in some kind of contractual dispute (such as disagreement on the terms of a new recording contract) that caused him to record for UA, but I’m not actually sure.

Regardless, ‘comeback’ notwithstanding, this is an amazing album, proving again that — just like his debut album — Jorge Ben was at his best when recording his own songs. EVERY track on this is his own. It is also remarkable and noteworthy that while other albums made by those more closely associated with Tropicália (e.g. any of the records made by Gilberto Gil, Caetano, or Gal in 68 or 69) contain little material that those artists would continue to perform (with some major exceptions scattered about…”Baby”, or “Aquele Abraço” for example), this album is packed with songs that continue to form staples of Jorge Ben’s repertoire.

This highlights one of the things I admire most about Jorge Ben — throughout the classic phase of his career, he could change elements of his stylistic approach while always retaining the ‘essence’ that was unmistakably Jorge Ben. Albums that are as different as they could be in terms of execution, approach, production — compare “Samba Esquema Novo”, this album, “A Tábua de Esmeralda”, and “África Brasil”, for example — never actually represent dramatic departures in Jorge Ben’s style of composition or playing. And I think this is a wonderful and remarkable thing. The notes on the boxset (sparse as they are, unfortunately) get things right when they demonstrate that in a very important way, Jorge Ben was always on the fringes of what was accepted as ‘serious’ music by the critics of his day — too much rock and jovem guarda for the bossa nova crowd, too much swing in his samba, too much funk in his feijoada. And in spite of critics he continued to be popular and to influence the music made by those artists more celebrated as ‘serious’, like the Tropicalístas, for whom (like Nara Leão) he was sort of an honorary member, a fellow-traveler whose career preceded the efflorescence of that movement and stood a bit further away from its center.

1 Crioula
2 Domingas
3 Cadê Teresa
4 Barbarella
5 País tropical
6 Take it easy my brother Charles
7 Descobri que eu sou um anjo
8 Bebete vãobora
9 Quem foi que roubou a sopeira de porcelana chinesa que a vovó ganhou da baronesa?
10 Que pena
11 Charles, Anjo 45

with Trio Mocotó and Os Originais do Samba

Arrangementes – José Briamonte, Rogerio Duprat (on “Descobri que eu sou um anjo” and “Barbarella”
Recorded at Scatena (São Paulo) and C.B.D. / Philips (Rio) studios
Recording technicians: Ary Carvalhaes, Célio Martins, Didi, Stélio Carlini, and João Kibelestis
Cover: Albery
Photo: Johnny Sálles
Layout: Lincoln
Violão: Jorge Ben
Produced by Manoel Barenbein

2009 Reissue mastered by Luigi Hoffer at DMS Mastering Solutions
Texts by Ana Maria Bahiana

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Jorge Ben – Big Ben (1965) (Salve, Jorge! Box)

Jorge Ben
“Big Ben”
P 632 768 L
Reissued with Salve Jorge! Boxset, 2009

1 Na Bahia tem
(Nestor Nascimento)
2 Patapatapatá
(Jorge Ben)
3 Bom mesmo é amar
(Jorge Ben)
4 Deixa o menino brincar
5 Lalari – olalá
6 Jorge Well
(Jorge Ben)
7 O homem, que matou o homem, que matou o homem ma
(Jorge Ben)
8 Quase colorida (Veruschka)
(Jorge Ben)
9 Maria Conga
(Nélio da Silva)
10 Acendo o fogo
(Ivo Elias)
11 Telefone de brotinho
(Maurício Scherman, Max Nunes, João Roberto Kelly)
12 Agora ninguém chora mais
(Jorge Ben)

Produced by Armando Pittligliani
Sound Engineer: Sylvio Rbaello
Sound Technicians: Célio Martins
Layout: Rodgrigo Octavio
Foto: Armando Amaral

2009 Remastering by Luigi Hoffner at DMS Mastering Solutions

The sound on this disc seems harsher, brasher, and more compressed to me than some of the other CDs in the boxset. But since its almost impossible to find the original CD pressing, it will do for me! The albums rocks out more than his previous albums, at times approximating early Beatles and Beach Boys but with a over-stimulated jazz compo backing him up. “Agora ninguém chora mais” is a classic, “Na Bahia tem” is also great and vaguely similar to Dorival Caymmi’s famous “O que a Baiana tem?”. Lindolfo Gaya even has a song on here, the interesting “Lalali-olalá”.

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João Nogueira – João Nogueira (1972)

This share is dedicated to J Thyme ( in appreciation for all the great music he has introduced me to over the last few years. Not sure if you have this one already my friend, but if not I know you will love it!

João Nogueira
Odeon 1972
SMOFB 3749
Reissue 2008 EMI

1 – Morrendo verso em verso (João Nogueira)
2 – Maria Sambamba (Casquinha)
3 – Beto Navalha (João Nogueira)
4 – Mãe solteira (Wilson Batista – Jorge de Castro)
5 – Alô Madureira (João Nogueira)
6 – 7º Dia (Garça)
7 – Heróis da Liberdade (Silas de Oliveira – Mano Décio da Viola – M. Ferreira)
8 – Mariana da Gente (João Nogueira)
9 – Prum samba (Egberto Gismonti)
10 – Meu caminho (João Nogueira)
11 – Das 200 para lá (João Nogueira)
12 – Blá Blá Blá (João Nogueira) participação: Gisa Nogueira

Production by Milton Miranda and Maestro Gaya
Assistant Production – Adelzon Alves
Orchestral Arrangements – Maestro Gaya
Technical Director – Z.J.Merky
Recording Technicians: Nivaldo Duarte, Zilman Aráujo, and Toninho
Lab Technician – Willy Paiva Moreira
Remixing – Jorge Teixeira

Lay-out – Joel Cocchiararo
Photo – Calbert
Quote from 2008 reissue back cover:
“Debut album the renowned sambista, who had come to fame as the author of “Das 200 para lá”, recorded by Eliana Pittman. Here the repetoire is made up of classics by Wilson Matista and Silas de Oliveira, and songs that would come to be recorded later by Clara Nunes, Martinho da Vila and other major names of samba. The biggest curiosity of this album is on account of a samba by Egberto Gismonti, “Prum Samba.”
–Thiago Marques Luiz


I heard this album after his 2nd (E lá vou eu) and 3rd records (Vem que tem). I didn’t think those could be outdone, but good God is this album incredible from start to finish! I am particularly in love with the production, and the stereo Fender Rhodes electric piano and Hammond organ tones that adds an extra layer to an already-rich sonic stew. The arrangements managed to mix all this, along with occasional electric guitar, flute, and of course lots of percussion, in one of the best mixes I’ve ever heard on a samba album. This is samba of the first quality (primera qualidade!!). And the blurb from Thiago Marques Luiz is correct in pointing out the oddity of having a samba from Egberto Gismonti, who is known for his long-form jazz / fusion / classical compositions. There isn’t a bad song on this album. I should have more to say about this album — As J Thyme has observed, a person can spend months and months diving into the subtleties of some records, and Nogueira’s early stuff is a prime example. Textured, layered, rich and creamy samba.

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

Jorge Ben
Ben é Samba Bom (1964)
Philips / Compania Brasileira dos Discos (P632.727 L)

This pressing, Salve, Jorge! Boxset 2009

1. Descalço No Parque (Jorge Ben)
2. Onde Anda O Meu Amor (Orlandivo – Roberto Jorge)
3. Bicho do Mato (Jorge Ben)
4. Vou De Samba Com Você (João Mello)
5. Samba legal (Henrique de Almeida – Claudionor Sant’Anna)
6. Ôba Lá Lá (João Gilberto)
7. Gabriela (Jorge Ben)
8. Zope Zope (Jorge Ben)
9. Saída Do Porto (Zil Rosendo)
10. Dandara Hei (Jorge Ben)
11. Samba Menina (Jorge Ben)
12. Guerreiro Do Rei (Jorge Ben)

Produced by Armando Pittigliani
Recording Technician – Célio Martins
Sound engineer – Sylvio Rabello
Cover design – Paulo Bréves
Photo – Mafra
~Dusty Groove review of the SOUL & SAMBA pressing:
Amazing stuff! Jorge Ben never made a bad record in the 60s — and this is one of his best! The album’s filled with tight jaunty numbers that mix big band samba arrangements with quickly strummed guitar, and Jorge’s wonderfully raw vocals — all classic stuff for Jorge, but a style that we never tire of! Every track’s a winner, and the album glides effortlessly from number to number, grooving along with a stunning mix of instruments, vocals, and this incredible echoey production. Titles include “Vou De Samba Com Voce”, “Rip Rei”, “Descalco No Parque”, “Lamento Nago”, “Saindo Do Porto”, “Bicho Do Mato”, and “Zope Zope”.~~
Flabber mini-review

I probably wouldn`t give such an unconditional laudatory review to this album. It has its classics, for sure, but for me it might be the weakest of Ben`s early output. It is also the second album he released in 1964, and contains more songs written by other people than any other Jorge Ben album from this first phase of his career. His take on João Gilberto’s “Oba, lá, lá” is great (although it probably annoyed the hard-to-please Gilberto), the songs “Descalço no parque”, “Danderei, hei”, and “Guerreiro rei” are all classics. “Zope zope” was, I believe, a hit, and definitely aims itself at the youngsters under the spell of Wilson Simonal, in my opinion. A good solid album, just not as great as his first two.

in 320kbs em pee three

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

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

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

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