Walter Wanderley Trio – Chegança (1966) (1971 reissue)

The Walter Wanderley Trio – Cheganca
Original release 1966 on Verve
1971 Reissue MGM Records
Series: MGM Latino Series – 10,010 MGS 610

Like many musicians looking for reprieve from the turmoil of mid-60s Brazil, keyboardist Walter Wanderley had left the country and settled in the United States.   He emigrated at the behest of Creed Taylor and made half a dozen albums for Verve. Most of them can be classed under ‘lounge’ or ‘exotica’ music, which has its own charms, although often as sweet as the half ton of bagged sugar featured on the front of this album.  But “Chegança” is more like the bossa-jazz records Wanderley made in Brazil and has much less of the Creed Taylor background-music schmaltz factor.   The whole band grooves together.  There is appropriately unsubtle cuica playing on O Ganso (“The Goose”)  The highlight, though,  is still the organ playing.  Have a listen to the solo in “Você e eu” below. Continue reading

Ismael Silva – Se você jurar (1973)

 

Ismael Silva
Se Você Jurar
1973 RCA-Victor (original release)
2004 Reissue RCA Victor 82876640692

Tonight, Brazil is poised on the brink of an abyss where half the country is ready to elect a military thug who openly celebrates the dictatorship of 1964-1985, and promised to initiate a new one .   It’s been a while since I’ve been able to visit there, and watching events unfold from a distance has been a slow, muted kind of heartbreak.  No matter what happens tomorrow, things are going to be rough for a while – the slumbering, unslain beast of the country’s authoritarian, slave-ocratic past has been stirred into action, calling for a ‘restoration of tradition’ through bloody retribution.  Those forces have convinced half of all Brazilians that democracy is a dirty word,  so I wouldn’t expect them to respect the results of any election that is not in their favor.    At this point the most I can do, perhaps the most anyone can  do at this hour, is to light a candle, pray to the Orixá of your choice, and play some samba.

So I’ve chosen this Ismael Silva album, his first and only ‘long player’ released during his lifetime.  Ismael Silva founded the first samba school, Deixa Falar, in the late 1920’s.  Although he did make some recordings under his own name in that era, he is most famous for supplying a steady stream of hits to the singer Chico Alves, one of the great early stars of samba.  (As was the custom, Francisco Alves was documented as a composer on these, whether or not he ever contributed a single idea).  In the wake of the “roots” samba revival of the 1960s, a whole host of sambistas began getting “rediscovered” and putting out records under their own name, like Adoniran Barbosa, Cartola, Zé Keti, and Nelson Cavaquinho.  This was Ismael’s turn.  The album is a soundtrack, really, for a theatrical concert production telling his life story, alongside that of Carmen Costa, that was written and produced by Ricardo Cravo Albin, who also wrote the original liner notes.  “Side A” of the album contains medleys of his classic compositions from the ‘Golden Era’ of samba, while “Side B” features material the world had yet to hear on record.  It’s a lively affair, with some “modern” flourishes like a groovy Walter Wanderley / Ed Lincoln-style organ riffs propelling things in the arrangements of Messias Santos, Jr, alongside more traditional samba instrumentation.   But I’ll be quiet now, and let the music speak for itself — Continue reading

Jards Macalé – Jards Macalé (1972) (Polysom reissue)

Jards Macalé – Jards Macalé
Vinyl rip in 24 bit 96 khz | Art at  300 dpi
24 bit 96 khz – 927 MB | 16-bit 44.1 khz 235 MB
Polysom 33124-1| Released 2012 (Orig.1972)  | Brazilian / Post-Tropicália / Samba / Soul – Funk

This record seems to fit the mood right now.   It is, somehow, a demonstration of how to remain calm while everything falls apart around you.  Brazil is very close to electing an right-wing extremist so repugnant that I don’t even want to name him here, and the US senate is poised to send the definitive reaffirmation, backed by a few thousand years of patriarchy, that women are still the property of men and do not deserve to be heard in the public sphere.  There might not be anything specifically political about this record, but it captures a kind of quiet perseverance, wrapped in melancholy, that are in so many of the best records from this period – the worst, most repressive years of Brazil’s military dictatorship. Continue reading

Herbie Mann – Do The Bossa Nova (1962) (Atlantic 1397, Mono pressing)

Herbie Mann
Do The Bossa Nova
1962 Atlantic 1397
Mono pressing

Before bossa nova became the semiotic index for the synthetic happiness of mass consumer culture and alienation (and long before it was featured in the supermarkets and the Commander’s dinner parties in the current adaptation of A Handmaid’s Tale), bossa nova was  associated with the cool and cosmopolitan, with goatee-sporting hep cats like Herbie Mann.  For this record, he went to Rio and actually recorded with a bunch of the leading lights of the movement, which sets this apart from a lot of the contemporary North American jazz-bossa crossovers of the time.  The personnel includes Baden Powell, Paulo Moura, Tom Jobim, and Sérgio Mendes. A fun version of Clifford Brown’s ‘Blues Walk’ gives it a Brazilian twist.

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Novos Baianos – Novos Baianos (1974) (Bomba Japanese reissue 2016)

Novos Baianos – Novos Baianos
1974 Continental SLP-10.144 (Original release)
2016 Japanese reissue, Bomba Records Continental SLP-10.144 

Last Sunday, Brazil’s first World Cup match ended in a tie, and now they’ve won their a match against Costa Rica.  I didn’t watch.  I don’t care about the World Cup.  Even if I did, I’m not sure I would be cheering for Brazil this year.  Country has lost its damn mind, and Neymar continues to be whitening. Also FIFA continues to be an ethically dodgy facilitator of slave labor littering the world with disused stadiums built as monuments to their power.  So let’s listen to a record by some people who embody the “beautiful game” as, in my uninformed naiveté, I imagine it to exist in some parallel utopia – Os Novos Baianos, lovers of futebol and purveyors of fine music, still in the midst of their heyday.

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