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.
Dolores Duran – Canta Para Você Dançar…
1957 Copacabana CLP 11011
2010 reissue EMI 967873-2
(F. Albano, P. Vento)
2 Por causa de você
(Dolores Duran, Tom Jobim)
(Kurt Feltz, Heinz Gletz)
4 Quem foi?
(Jorge Tavares, Nestor de Holanda)
5 Feiura não é nada
6 Que murmuren
(Ruben Fuentes, Rafael Cardenas)
7 Coisas de mulher
(Dunga, Jair Amorim)
10 Se papai fôsse eleito
11 Mi último fracaso
13 Only you
(A. Rand, B.Ram)
14 Estatuto de boite
Remastered by Luigi Hoffer and Carlos Savalla
Dolores Duran (1930-1959), not only had an unforgettable voice but also composed a lot of her best material. A central figure in the early bossa nova scene, she succumbed to the occupational hazards of the bohemian lifestyle, dying in her sleep from a heart attack at 29 years old after an evening of music, drinking, and barbiturates. Her lamentably short career left an solid recorded legacy but, having left this world so young, she is less celebrated outside Brazil than some of her bossa nova contemporaries who lived long enough to benefit from the global infatuation with the genre. Here is a recording of her singing a song she co-wrote with Tom Jobim, released in 1957 on the LP featured in this post.
But Duran’s professional career reached back before the dawn of bossa to when a nightclub singer had to be able to sing a little of everything and have a broad repertoire. That is reflected in choice of songs included here, which span foxtrots, boleros, rumbas, and of course samba. Stylistic variation blurs into cosmopolitan sophistication too, as you realize that she sings in no less than six languages here. In addition to her native Portuguese, she sings in Italian, Spanish, French, English, and Scat. I don’t speak all these languages and am in no place to judge her
elocution, but as far as music is the language of love I deem Dolores to
have been more than fluent. One fantastic track among these, which I highly recommend for your next dance party, is the French rumba number (how can you go wrong?) “Viens.” The only English song is a rendition of The Platters “Only You.” Here’s some side-by-side listening for you:
Oh and why the hell not, one more for good measure (sorry Ringo!):
I think Dolores’ version carries its weight quite well, and her English is lovely (although a Portuguese rewrite would have made it stand out more, and of course automatically make it more romantic, because it’s a Latin language, yo). Apparently Duran had none other than Ella Fitzgerald in the audience at one of her performances, who complimented her version of “My Funny Valentine.” Man what heady days to have been hanging around the nightclubs of Rio.
The notes assert that the selection is culled from the most popular numbers in her repertoire, tried and tested in clubs, on the radio, at festivals, in films, and wherever else she could perform. I believe it. Everything here is sung with an easy confidence and charm of someone who knows her audience. Her charm is so infectious, and her talent so seemingly effortless. In addition to the collaboration with Jobim above, she also interprets first-rate sambas by the Titulares do Ritmo (“Coisas de Mulher”), and Dunga with Jair Amorim (“Conceição, originally recorded by Gaúcho vocal group Conjunto Farroupilha but immortalized by Cauby Peixoto a year before Dolores’ made her version). There are two tunes penned by Billy Blanco here. The first is “Feiura não é nada” (or “Ugliness ain’t no thang”), a satirical take on vanity, the transformative powers of the cosmetic industry, and its noble fight to eradicate world ugliness. As far as I know the song was written specifically for Dolores to sing, which is the only way it comes off as humorous. Blanco is brilliant but the humor in this song bugs me a little as a write this, but perhaps I am a bit tender on the topic of chauvinist, machista humor lately. Have you seen the guy in the 50’s? Here, have a look at Billy:
It may be just because there is a currently a hedgehog with a hair-weave running as a
candidate for Leader Of The Free World right now, and I’m burned out on
casual sexism, but I don’t think Billy was in any position of aesthetic or sartorial superiority.
There is very little footage of her performing live aside from some scenes in musical chanchada films, but I can imagine her commanding a room with her presence. I also wonder about the impact of her passing on the other rising divas of the day. As young as Dolores was, she was actually five years older than contemporaries like Maysa and Alaíde Costa and, as we know, in young person time that made her, like, way old, dude. Was she a figure that these other singers looked up to, or were they rivals? I suppose I will have to read Rodrigo Faour’s biography to find that out.
Like many successful Long Player collections of the day, this one had a “part two” which I just may share with you in good time. Meanwhile, one last comparison. Here is Cauby Peixoto, before he became the inspiration for Austin Powers, singing “Conceição”, followed by Dolores’ version.
“A Misteriosa Luta Do Reino de Parasempre Contra O Império de Nuncamais”
Original release Polydor (Brasil) LPNG 44.037, 1969
This reissue 2006 Discos Mariposa, Argentina
1- De como meu herói Flash Gordon irá levar-me de volta a Alfa do Centauro, meu verdadeiro lar
3- Pare de sonhar com estrelas distantes
4- Onde foi “Morning Girl”
5- My cherie amour
6- Atlântida “Atlantis”
7- Por quem sonha Ana Maria?
8- Mares de areia
9- Regina e o mar
10- Foi bom
11- Rose Ann
12- Comecei uma brincadeira “I started a joke”
13. Meu Bem
14. O Pequeno Príncipe
15. Meu Mundo Parou
Here’s some more pós-jovem guarda psychedelia (or is it psychejovem guardelia-iê-iê?) from former teen-idol and past and present TV star and show host Ronnie
Von! Pretty heady stuff for such a heart-throb: the title translates as “The Mysterious Struggle of the Kingdom of Forever Against the Empire of Nevermore.” And this record was made before that North American whats-her-name made absurdly long and silly album titles trendy! Of his three psych albums from the late 60s-early-70s, this only narrowly loses out to the third one as my favorite. Mostly because it has one too many ‘cover songs’ of contemporary hits on it. In particular, the rather odd choice of My Cherie Amor just doesn’t fit. A Brazilian-Portuguese version of Donovan’s “Atantlis” is a campy highlight though, and his version of Jobim’s “Dindi” is just plain great. I like his version of The Bee
Gee’s “I Started A Joke” even if I prefer the original. It’s got a very fuzzy guitar and everyone is accenting the down stroke (even the piano player!), giving the tune an unexpected headiness (or is it heaviness?) and it makes a good closer for the album. (Everything after that track consists of bonus cuts).
This record is best when it’s at its most psychedelic, which also happens to include most of the tunes co-written by Ronnie. The opening cut is great, so is “Pare de
sonhar com as estrelas distantes”, features a sound collage bridge very much inspired by the Fab Four. Von first got his start in music by way of a friendship with a group called The Brazilian Beatles and appeared on their TV show in 1965 singing “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away,” so it is only natural that his sound followed the instincts of their idols. Although this kind of stuff was vociforously attacted by the reactionaries of the day as being an agent of imperialism and a “mass culture” threat, Von’s music isn’t nearly as derivative as all that. He doesn’t attempt to ape Beatle-esque harmonies, and the approach to arrangements has its fair share of blue-eyed soul (or is it green-eyed soul?) and is just as inspired by contemporaneous Roberto Carlos. In other words, he might have been heavily inspired by The Beatles – along with, um, pretty much everyone else recording pop music in 1969 – but there was far more derivative stuff being produced by pop and psych-pop contemporaries in the anglophone world. There is quite a bit of originality here, and if I were to complain it would be that the record doesn’t have enough of Von’s own compositions. He fixes that on his next record, however.
The track “Rose Ann” manages to squeeze English, Portuguese, and French into the same tune, briefly breaking down into an accordion-driven bit of chanson. There’s some very nice vibraphone on this too. Ronnie was really gifted at doing spoken parts in between his sung vocals. I would like to hear him read an entire audio-book. What great works of literature should we suggest to his agent? Please leave your suggests in the comment suggestion. Meanwhile, “You’re love will be, like summer to me.”
One of favorite tunes on the album is “Regina e o Mar,” which has a perfect blend of a groovy bass line and rhythm guitar, loose drums, creative string arrangements, Ronnie’s soulful vocal, and just the right amount of tape delay. This tune is followed by an unexpected and equally groovy tune penned by Benedito da Paula, which adds horns to the previous winning combination. No tape delay, though. Oh well, it’s good to be sparing with it anyway.
Tagged at the end are some bonus tracks, including yet another cover (The Beatles’ “Girl”), which if the liner notes here are correct he managed to record without crediting them, and Ronnie’s signature hit tune, “O Pequeno Principe”. “Girl” / “Meu Bem” has a pretty wicked tremolo-surf guitar part.
This release on Mariposa Records (Argentina) is a needle-drop, and not a particularly good one, but it gets the job done. Since my birthday is coming up soon, feel free to send me original vinyl copies as a gift. Thanks!
Oh and I almost forgot – the bilingual booklet is a wonderful example of what happens when you use Google Translate to convert Brazilian Portuguese to English. Fun!!
“A Batucada Da Vida”
DVD 1 in a series of 3
2006 // NTSC
– Garoto último tipo (Puppy love)
– Vida de bailarina
– O trem azul
– É com esse que eu vou
– Ladeira da preguiça
– Poema – Retrato do desconhecido
– Folhas secas
– Gol anulado
– O mestre sala dos mares
– Bodas de prata
– Canto de Ossanha/ Deixa/ Lapinha/Vou deitar e rolar (Quá quá ra quá quá /Aviso aos navegantes
– O que tinha de ser/ Tatuagem
– Atrás da porta
– Águas de março
– Na batucada da vida
O difícil começo da carreira em Porto Alegre não foi diferente das
histórias dos demais membros dessa confraria a qual Elis pertencia – a
das pessoas determinadas a vencer. Ela tinha talento, sabia do seu valor
e só precisava enfrentar o mundo com coragem e determinação. Foi o que
fez. O resultado todos conhecem e está neste DVD. Um registro único de
interpretações memoráveis de Elis, incluindo a canção de Ary Barroso que
ela aprendeu com Tom Jobim e que dá nome ao DVD./////
The difficult beginning of her career in Porto Alegre was not any
different from the stories of the many members of the club to which Elis
belonged: of people determined to win. She had talent, she knew her
she was good, and she only needed to take on the work with courage and
determination. And that’s just what she did. The result which everyone
knows is on this DVD. A record of the most memorable of the unique,
singular interpretations of Elis, including the song by Ary Barroso that
she learned from Tom Jobim and which gives its name to the DVD.
A blog reader recently asked if I was still alive. Well I have a lot more interesting posts than this that I have been planning, but when people are worried about your health you have to give them a pulse. However I’ve been busy with work lately, too busy to write worthwhile blog posts, and so I dug up this description I had written for this DVD over a year ago for someplace else, with some slight modifications:
This is a minor treasure-trove for fans of Elis Regina with some amazing live-in-the-studio performances that really illustrate her mastery of technique and her emotional sincerity. That being said, I would much rather listen to Elis sing than watch her sing. Her emotional connection with the material she sings is downright scary. In the world of popular music there are so many people who give us fake theatrical emotion on stage (Marisa Monte anyone?) that it is unnerving to see someone in the throws of total surrender to a song — When the tune is happy, she is smiling and ebullient; when the song is sad, she cries; when it’s angry, her wrath adds a meter to her diminutive height and we back away… It’s probably not a dramatic exaggeration to say that this highly emotional, ultra-sensitive nature combined with the roller coaster of fame and success ultimately killed her, as it has with other artists before and since. When I first saw some of her live clips I questioned whether she was “for real” or just laying it on think. My conclusion is that she was pretty real alright.
In the days before botox, a singer or actress could potentially achieve the same effect through plucking their eyebrows and imbibing a shit-ton of cocaine. Elis seems to have flirted with this strategy during the 70s. As I said, I would rather listen to her records than watch her.
The audio track on some of the material could be better, but presumably they did the best with what they had. Some of it sounds greats, other parts not so much.
Another critique is that the earliest years of her career are relegated to an odd photo montage at the beginning and then we are launched right
into the 1970s. Her recordings prior to 1965 are utterly forgettable, but the period from 1965-70 is the material that I find myself coming back to, much more than her slick 70s MPB. Where is the footage of her regular program O Fino da Bossa (presumably, tied up for some legal reasons), her duets with Jair Rodriguez or Wilson Simonal? You can find a bit of that stuff on You
Tube but it sure would be nice to have a clean, quality DVD of it. For my tastes, her records from 1966-1970 were the peak of her creative power and the strongest in terms of repertoire, and we just don’t get any nuggets from that era. Even so, this is essential for any fan of Elis Regina, as are the other two DVDs in the series. And they are live performances, not video clips.
The clip with Tom Jobim is just downright weird. They seem kind of, um, loaded on something or other. The DVD notes claimed that Elis was learning the song from Tom, which I guess explains why she doesn’t join in the singing and we are left with his flat, low-key, take-it-or-leave-it vocal; this is followed by Elis singing the same tune, impeccably, years later. But what I really don’t understand is the claim that Elis *learned* this song from Jobim — Ary Barroso is one of the most famous composers in Brazilian popular music, and ‘Na Batucada da Vida’ isn’t exactly an obscure song. In other words, I just have trouble believing that someone of Elis’ musical background wouldn’t already KNOW this song by 1974 (when the footage in question was shot…). But who am I to argue with liner notes written by someanonymous record label person?
I know there are quite a few people waiting for me to finish up the Marcos Valle series, but I’ve been rather busy lately. But a whole week without a blog post is just unconscionable, so here’s a quick one (while he’s away).
Herbie Mann still doesn’t get enough credit for his role in helping spread the seeds of musical cross-fertilization between the US and Brazil, nor for the amount of great players that passed through the ranks of his various ensembles. My explanation for this lack of respect hinges on the fact that by the late sixties Herbie would become obsessed with taking his shirt off for every photo op, bearing his hairy pectorals while blowing madly on his flute. And also committing the venial jazz sin of flirting too much with commercialism for the jazz critics, embracing soul, R&B, funk, rock, and disco at one time or another.
This is a very fine set of music from Herbie with his shirt still on, and a lineup that boasts Dave Pike, Willie Bobo and Patato Valdez. From Bennie Goodman to Luis Bonfa, there really isn’t a dull moment. And a ripping bossa-bop treatment of “Desafinado” is all on its own enough to make this record worth having. The solos from Herbie and Dave Pike are a world apart from the many sleepier, starchier American jazz appropriations of bossa nova’s own appropriations of American jazz. It’s as if the original Jobim/Mendonça song had a zipper, and Herbie Mann pulled the zipper all the way down, pushed the fabric inside out, stuffed it with a simulacrum of Dizzy Gillespie, pulled the zipper back up, and gave it to us all on Christmas day. Just like if you go far enough to the east you end up in the west eventually, bossa nova’s whitening of samba is baptized into Black American music and Latin Jazz by a Jew from Brooklyn.
Oh, and lots of folks are fond of pointing out that this live version of `Garota de Ipanema` (The Girl from Ipanema)was actually recorded before the Getz/Giblerto version had been released (although that version *had* been recorded by the time of the concert). Pretty cool, eh?
Elsewhere, Willie Bobo and Patato tear it up on the timbales and congas. Like they always do. I hope this whets your appetite for more from the family of Mann as I have quite a bit I’ve been meaning to share someday (including the oddball albums with Sonny Sharrock and Roy Ayers). This 2001 reissue on Wounded Bird has pretty decent sound too.
“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
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.