Elza Soares – Lição de Vida (1976)


This post dedicated to J Thyme, whose comments are always insightful but which I seem to have been taking for granted. I know he already has this album but hopefully the new remaster and extra bonus cuts will be of interest. I’ll try to be a better communicator in the future. No hard feelings, I hope.

LIÇÃO DE VIDA Elza Soares 1976 on Tapecar X.42 Reissued 2010 on `Discobertas` (DB-053)

1 Malandro (Jotabê, Jorge Aragão)
2 Cipriano (Sidney da Conceição, Romeo Nunes)
3 Lição de vida (Paulo de Capitola)
4 Pinta e borda (Belizário, Di Ferraz)
5 Rainha dos sete mares (Lino Roberto, Alfredo Silva, Avarese)
6 A rosa (Efson)
7 Curumbandê (Beto Baiano)
8 Nó na tristeza (Carlito Cavalcanti, Vicente Mattos)
9 Deus e viola (Neoci, Dida)
10 Estou com raiva de você (Miro Barbosa, Jorge Roberto)
11 Samba, minha raiz (Ivone Lara, Délcio Carvalho)
12 Sal e pimenta (Newton Ramalho, Nazareno de Brito) Mulata assanhada (Ataulfo Alves) Beija-me (Roberto Martins)

BONUS TRACKS (recorded live)
13. Vem Chegando a Madrugada (Noel Rosa de Oliveira – Adil de Paula)
14. Quando Vim de Minas (Xangô da Mangueira)
15. Sei Lá, Mangueira (Paulinha da Viola, Hermínio Bello de Carvalho)

Elza Soares has a massive discography, a fascinating life, and an unmistakable voice. Her `voz rouca` (course voice) occasionally breaks into scat singing very reminescent of Louis Armstrong, and ela gosta de gritar / she likes to scream to punctuate some of her musical phrases (listen to ‘Pinta e Borda’ for lovely examples of both). In fact she does this more nowadays than she did in the 1970s, but in these days she did it with more subtletly, in my opinion.

In spite of the consistently high caliber quality of her albums in the 1970s, Elza’s career was in something of a slump — but only by comparison to the phenomenoal successes she had in the 1960s when she recorded for Odeon. Now signed to Tapecar, it can probably said that her shining star was somewhat eclipsed by label-mate Beth Carvalho (who had signed to RCA by this time), Alcione, and Clara Nunes as the reigning queens of samba in the 70s. Which is a shame, because the result is that these Tapecar albums — in spite of having some hit songs on them — are relatively underappreciated in Brazil and have been out of print for years until now. The fledgling label Discobertas, who seem to have aquired a chunk of Tapecar`s back catalog, has reissued four of her albums from the 1970s and two from the 1980s all at the same time. (They also issued a small Beth Carvalho boxset of Tapecar material, which I have been very truent in uploading here…). I’ve been able to find a few of these on vinyl, and at the risk of sounding like a characture of myself I have to say I am not completely convinced about the remastering on these. There is sibilance in the vocals that is attentuated on the vinyl (with a good stylus) and distortions in some of the instruments. But it is great to see the albums in print, and Discobertas has included bonus tracks from a rather rare series that Tapecar issued of recordings organized by Project Minerva. The tracks here are from volume 8 and are from a live radio broadcast. If you pay attention you can hear the tracks are sourced from vinyl… I have Volume 7, which is incredible and features some very tracks from Cartola that I don’t believe have ever been issued on CD. With any luck I will upload that one here too…

The arrangements are mostly by keyboardist Ed Lincoln, who was sort of the staff arranger at Tapecar at this period but whose renowned career goes back as long as Elza herself. In addition to Lincoln, three tunes (Pinta e Borda, A Rosa, and Estou Com Raiva de Voce) are arranged by clarinetist, sax player and genius Paulo Moura And the arrangements all perfectly compliment the tunes and her voice, and Moura’s have the additional touch of jazz-samba flourishes you might expect from him. I also suspect he may have played on some of this, although the lack of musician credits on the CD make this speculation on my part. Her repetoire features a great deal of new sambas by new sambistas like Jorge Aragão (soon to be a member of Fundo de Quintal and currently a samba star on his own). An interesting highlight is the presence of “Samba, Minha Raiz”, written by Dona Ivone Lara but only to be recorded by her a few years later and is now a samba classic. The album ends with a medley of material culled from the early years of Elza’s career – three rapid-fire segments of “Sal e Pimenta”, “Mulata Assanhada,” and “Beija-me”. The brief liner notes from Marcelo Fróes trace the authorship and recording history of these tunes very succinctly for those who are interested. The bonus tracks from the Project Minverva radio broadcast on Rádio MEC end up becoming a tribute to Mangueira – “Vem Chegando a Madrugada,” “Quando Vim de Minas” and “Sei lá, Mangueira”. With composer credits like these (Noel Rosa, Xangô de Mangueira, Paulinha da Viola), it’s hard not to be convinced.

On the back album cover, you’ll notice the photographic depictions of domestic bliss showing Elza, her newborn child, and her husband, footballer Garrincha. Unfortunately these idyllic images were apparently more an ideal or perhaps a posture than a reality. In a marriage frequently described as “turbulent”, both Elza and Garrincha were pretty well immersed in alcoholism at this point and known for their frequent quarels and fights. And sadly Garrincha would famously beat the crap out of Elza only a year later (one last time?) after which she would divorce him.

This album shouldn’t be passed up by any fans of Elza or afficionados of samba (kind of a redundant statement, since they are more or less synonymous). Enjoy! (password in commentaries)


VA – Spiritual Jazz: Esoteric, Modal, and Deep Jazz from the Underground 1968-1977 (2009)


Various – Spiritual Jazz: Esoteric, Modal, and Deep Jazz from the Underground 1968-1977
Jazzman/Now-Again (NA5042)

01. James Tatum / Introduction 4:32
02. Lloyd Miller / Gol-E Gandom 4:09
03. Morris Wilson-Beau Bailey Quintet / Paul’s Ark 3:18
04. P.E. Hewitt / Bada Que Bash 4:09
05. Mor Thiam / Ayo Ayo Nene 5:44
06. The Lightmen Plus One / All Priases To Allah (Parts 1-2) 4:28
07. Ndikho Xaba / Nomusa 8:46
08. Salah Ragab / Neveen 7:51
09. Positive Force / The Afrikan In Winter 4:15
10. Frank Derrick Total Experience / No Jive 5:09
11. Hastings Street Jazz Experience / Ja Mil 3:33.14
12. Ronnie Boykins / The Will Come, Is Now 12:29
13. Leon Gardner / Be There 3:30
14. Ohio Penitentiary 511 Jazz Ensemble / Psych City 3:03


This post is for Sir Chadwick the Golden, who mentioned it about nine months ago. Like always, Flabbergast is as timely as an unwanted pregnancy and so this post has taken about nine months or so to finally arrive. At this point he has probably gone out and found himself a copy, but if not then I hope he enjoys this quality rip of a top-notch collection from Jazzman Records, a label that has yet to disappoint me with any of their releases. Chadwick had mentioned that the album was curiously, and pleasantly (for his ears) free of spiritual-jazz yodeling. Indeed, there is no Leon Thomas anywhere on this album, and aside from some appearances from Lester Bowie and an entry from Salah Ragab, the majority of the artists on this album will likely be unfamiliar to all but the most astute and studious of rare groove stalwarts. And that is no big surprise: the bulk of the material here is culled from rare 45’s and LP’s pressed privately and-or in very small quantities. I’ve felt my own consciousness expanded by this compilation and have definitely been turned on to a bunch of wonderful artists through its existence. The whole album is so consistently good that I have to fall back on one of my own clichés and say that it’s too hard to pick out highlights. But if you put a bop-gun to my head and made me start talking, I’d say the album really begins to make a believer out of me by the time it takes flight with B.D. Hewitt’s Jazz Ensemble and their track “Bada Que Bash” with scatlike vocalizations that remind me of the best of Andrew Hill or Donald Byrd’s work in that vein. The following track is the bona-fide monster of the collection – “Ayo Ayo Nene” by Senegalese percussionist Mor Theme and featuring a pre-Art Ensemble appearance by Lester Bowie, it’s a funky as hell global trot of transnational infusions and Afrocentric celebration from his album “Drums of Fire.” Ndikho Xaba and The Natives deliver some post-Coltrane-via-South-Africa modality with a heavy soul arrangement. Salah Ragab and the Cairo Jazz Band blow our minds with a piece of Latin-soul-jazz-Arabian-funk from the impossibly rare 1972 album “Prism Music Unit.” Ragab’s band is better known via an association with Sun Ra’s Arkestra that would come a decade later, and unfortunately he recorded very little of his own, all of it precious. The wonderful liner notes fill in the story of the Cairo Jazz Band’s creation.

Another incomparable treasure on this album is from the Detroit collective The Positive Force featuring Ade Olutunji, led by Kamall Kenyatta. The impetus for the group ame largely through Ade’s participation in the 1977 FESTAC festival in Lagos (the same event, incidentally, which brough Gilberto Gil more directly in touch with Mother Africa and Caetano Veloso more in touch with his own narcissism but which would yield his last decent album he ever made, Bicho). As the aforementioned lovely booklet with this CD mentions, The Positive Force was conceived more as a collaborative art project combining music and poetry, and the sole album they recorded (in Highland Park, Michigan!) was only sold at their performances. Even more highlights from Detroit’s oft-overlooked and under-celebrated jazz scene during the 1970s is the cut here by the Hastings Street Jazz Experience with a tune called “Ja Mil”. The band is simply too huge to list all the musicians in this post but features vocals by Kim Weston (on loan from Motown and an old high school friend of bandleader Ed Nelson), as well as Phil Ranelin on trombone (Tribe Records) and Walter Strickland (Sun Ra’s Arkestra) on sax. More Sun Ra connections arrive via bassist Ronald Boykins, whose one and only LP as a bandleader (for the ESP label) gets represented here with the brooding “The Will Come, Is Now”. The next track, Leon Gardner’s “Be There”, is a head trip of the first order. Undoubtedly the weirdest thing on here, it features and uncredited band with undeniable jazz chops led and arranged by Horace Tapscott, and virtuoso verbosity via Mr. Gardner who seems to be cautioning us to watch out and make sure that we be there. The album closes with the Ohio Penitentiary 511 Ensemble, which while having what is easily one of the most interesting background stories, offers up one of the least interesting musical pieces, “Psych City.” But it’s a good and laid back two-chord vamp to jam out the tail end of the record, with the additional fun of a farfisa piping away quietly in the right channel.

Given the rarity and scarcity of this precious source material, sound quality is not particularly stunning on some of this collection. This is not actually a *complaint* from me this time – and not just an observation, I mention it because I have a suggestion: this album deserves a listen with a good pair of headphones. For those of us with sound systems that cost less than a new automobile, a good pair of headphones can help bring out some of the details that get lost in the harmonic distortions of a lot of speaker systems. Of course I could just be saying that because I am listening on a comfortable pair of Senheisser’s as I write this, and previously I had only cranked up this record on the stereo at home. I feel like I missed a lot of the music that way, so if you dig this album give some `phones a try.

in 320 kbs em pee tree

password in commentaries

Satwa – Satwa (1973)


SATWA (s/t)
Self-released 1973
Reissued on Time-Lag Records (019)

I just heard, a week late, that local undergronud semigod Lula Cortes passed away. An important figure in the “udigrudi” (Portuguese bastardization of the word ‘underground’ and used exclusively to refer to the psychedelic scene of Recife, Pernambuco, in the early 70s), he is best known outside Brazil for making the legendary Paêbiru album with Zé Ramalho. Ramalho would get more and more mainstream and increasingly just plain awful: for evidence I refer you to recent unlistenable albums dedicated entirely to covering Bob Dylan (with bad attempts at translating the untranslatable poet Zimmerman), and — perhaps more shamefully – butchering his own countryman and fellow northeasterns like Jackson do Pandeiro or Luiz Gonzaga. Lula Cortes, on the other hand, at least stayed true to his own weirdness, regardless of how you feel about his actual music. He also made a respected name for himself as a painter. Below is a write-up I posted a long time ago (somewhere else that was not here) that may possibly upset devoted fans of this fan or of Lula. I was planning on posting it here someday, but there were too many better records out there to talk about and listen to… Still definitely worth a spin, though, and better to have it in LOSSLESS than in some awful low-bitrate version..

An album that is more fun, in my biased opinion, is his Rosa de Sangue from 1980. Just say the word, and it shall be done…


(old pre-death review)
In my personal opinion, this record (like a lot of obscure psych and psych-folk) is a bit overrated. It’s cool enough, and psych-heads will probably love it, but it doesn’t get me too terribly excited. It’s obscurity makes for a good story, and places like Dusted Magazine can make romanticized statements about how they sang in wordless vocalization because of the military dictatorship. Bullshit. Milton Nascimento eliminated the lyrics from his album `Milagre dos Peixes` (also 1973) because the government sought to censor them, and so he sang in wordless vocalizations. Satwa sings in wordless vocalizations because they don’t have all that much to say to say, or were too stoned to write any articulate lyrics. Some of it is very beautiful, and has a nice vibe, but also no more or less special than various free-form acoustic jams I myself have participated in as a musician, with the exception that Lula Cortes had built his own odd acoustic sitar-guitar instrument. This was recorded in 1973 and hardly anyone heard it. It’s also worth mentioning that this record is impossible to find in any form in the city it was originally released in (Recife, Pernambuco), and changes hands elsewhere for far more money than the music is actually worth, so this is quite a rarity.

Includes full artwork at 300 dpi in TIF and JPG, m3u, log, cue, and a spliff.


Satwa biography
Brazilian 70’s dreamlike, acid-folk guitar project. It’s largely an acoustic guitar orientated “trip”. Their eponymous album (a private press LP originally released in 1973) provides emotional, luminous Latin psych vibes with omnipresent “raga” harmonies. The duet is composed by Lula Cortez (on guitar and popular Morocco sitar) and Lailson de Holanda Cavalcanti (12 strings guitar, voice). One composition feature Robertinho Do Recife on electric guitar (see picture on the right). Constantly imaginative with dense buzzing ragas, this one is definitely essential for fans of progressive folk, eastern sonorites and peaceful ambiences. An other highway to Heaven!

“Written, recorded and released just as Brazil’s military dictatorship reached the climax of its long black arc, the one and only album by Satwa is a divinely subtle protest. Now issued for the first time in America through the venerable Time-Lag Records in Maine and the stewardship of freeform fixture Erika Elder, Satwa, often cited as Brazil’s first independent record, is a mellow starburst of acoustic jangle.
— Prog Archives
Formed after the return of Lula Côrtes and Lailson from their respective foreign excursions – the former a beardo home after the requisite Moroccan sojourn, the latter a young long-hair back from the States – Satwa lasted only a year, perhaps due to their differing stripes. Lailson was from the verdant former Dutch colony of Pernanbuco, while Côrtes hailed from the wild badlands of Paraiba. But for 11 days in January 1973 the pair jammed cross-legged and produced the folk trance gems that adorn this self-titled debut.

At a time when censors caused newspapers to run cake recipes on their front pages in place of rejected news stories, Lailson only lets the occasional throat drone slip through his lips. Largely void of voice and word, the songs – Côrtes plucking steely leads from his sitar while Lailson’s 12-string thrums crystalline chords – are loose and lovely. The sole interference in these glistening arabesques is the hoary electric fretwork of one Robertinho on “Blues do Cachorro Muito Louco,” the most explicitly fried track. Otherwise, Côrtes and Lailson are left to experiment in musty silence. Seemingly taped live, each track is a dry documentation of the duo’s gently rambling improvisations. Far from the recombinant psychedelia of tropicalismo that reigned over the pre-hippie underground in Brazil’s bustling metropolises five years earlier, Satwa play bed peace bards. In double-mono, or fake stereo, Satwa is raw, untreated mentalism translated into pure songflow. At times exhausted and dusty – “Atom” – or archaically splendorous – “Valse Dos Cogumelos” – the duo’s spiraling scrolls etched in rustic timbres unfurl gracefully.

Côrtes, now a graying painter, would go on to record the more explicitly weird Paêbirú (also recently reissued) with Zé Ramalho. A concept album about extraterrestrials in Paraiba’s arid backwoods, it had long been anointed a masterpiece of the era. After dabbling in rock outfits, Lailson broke into the mainstream as a newspaper cartoonist, a job he has kept to this day. Neither were or will probably ever be Satwa again, but during those few days and from now on, Satwa is a quiet triumph.

-Bernardo Rondeau, dustedmagazine.com

João Donato – Lugar Comum (1975) with Gilberto Gil

João Donato
“Lugar Comum”
Released 1975 on Philips
Reissued 2004 on Dúbas Música

1 Lugar comum
(Gilberto Gil, João Donato)
2 Tudo tem
(Gilberto Gil, João Donato)
3 A bruxa de mentira
(Gilberto Gil, João Donato)
4 Ê menina
(Guarabyra, João Donato)
5 Bananeira
(Gilberto Gi, João Donato)
6 Patumbalacundê
(Orlandivo, Durval Ferreira, Gilberto Gil, João Donato)
7 Xangô é de Baê
(Rubens Confeti, Sidney da Conceição, João Donato)
8 Pretty dolly
(Norman Gimbel, João Donato)
9 Emoriô
(Gilberto Gil, João Donato)
10 Naturalmente
(Caetano Veloso, João Donato)
11 Que besteira
(Gilberto Gil, João Donato)
12 Deixei recado
(Gilberto Gil, João Donato)


Mellow and laid-back and yet also very funky. Classic album, impossible to find on vinyl without selling your organs, but it’s been around in the blogosphere for quite a while. Still, it is very nice that this remaster exists and I hope someone out there takes advantage of the FLAC availability. I have no idea why Donato changed the album cover — which was kind of bland and ugly to begin with — to something even more bland and ugly. Just my opinion. If you want a review that completely misses the point about nearly everything on this album and amazingly fails to mention the presence of Gilberto Gil or collaborations with Caetano Veloso, go look for Thom Jurek’s award-winning AMG prose/drivel about this album. He never disappoints in the mediocrity department.

Worth pointing out that the song ‘Bananeira’ was also a hit for Emilio Santiago on an album that Donato arranged for him in this same year.

The reissue has liner notes in both Portuguese and English that give some pretty detailed anecdotes about each song. Particularly interesting is the story behind the song “Xango é de Baê”. The keyboard tones are, naturally, gorgeous, and the production is impeccable and warm like the hug of an old friend. Indeed. If you don’t know this album, you ought to check it out; If you do already know it, but not this remaster, leave a message here, particularly if you have an opinion about the remastering. I am personally pretty happy with this one.