10 August 2016: Cosmic Jazz in Brazil – part one

ipanema beachAt CJ, we need no excuses to play good Brazilian music, but the events in Rio have encouraged us to give you two hours of back to back Brazilian goodness with jazz at its heart. This show is the first – so click that MixCloud tab to sample some of the vast range of music that a country bigger than Europe has produced – much of it on British labels – FarOut, Mr. Bongo, BGP and Soul Jazz amongst others. In the playlist, some tracks are attributed to these labels rather than the original source: without their sterling efforts, most of us would not be able to hear this wonderful music.

Of course, the stereotype is that Brazilian music is all about samba and bossa nova. Yes, these are popular styles – but there is so much more. Most musical genres are represented across this huge country, and so you can hear locally produced reggae, heavy metal, afrobeat, pop, hip-hop, jazz and more. Take our first two tracks – both CJ favourites. There’s no obvious clues that these two jazz tunes are from Brazil – but they are.

otis trio 74 clubFirst up was the Otis Trio from their album 74 Cluba record justifiably described on the sleeve as a  Free Jazz Extravaganza. It draws upon contemporary music, bebop, European jazz and jazz bands of the 60s and 70s and was recorded live with all-analogue equipment.

Next came keyboard player Bruno E from his impressive album Lovely Arthur, recorded in South London during a year he spent there with his wife, the singer Patricia Marx, and their newly born son – obviously called called Arthur.

airto moreiraWhen Brazilian master percussionist Airto Moreira moved to the US in 1967 with his wife, singer Flora Purim, he was in great demand from the start. He played with Miles Davis, Lee Morgan, Wayne Shorter, Cannonball Adderley, Miroslav Vitous, Joe Zawinul, and many more. For this show, however, the selection was batucada por favordistinctly Brazilian in sound and sentiment. Its Time For Carnival is a definite floor-filler – as I can testify from the many times I have pulled it out of the box to get the crowd moving. The original album from which this track comes (Struck by Lightning from 1989) features Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Stanley Clarke – true jazz royalty.

The tune from Joyce is one we have played before on the programme and will certainly play again. The Feminina album from which this comes is a justifiable Brazilian classic and a must have for any follower of Cosmic Jazz. The original has been reissued by Mr Bongo Records and is now widely available. You can hear a cult extended version of the titljoyce femininae track featuring a brilliant flute solo from Joe Farrell right here. Joyce continues to record albums on FarOut with her husband, drummer Tutty Moreno. It’s something of a family affair as her daughters Clara and Ana are singers too. In fact, this is not uncommon in a country where music is part of most people’s lifeblood, and there are now second and even third generation artists with those familiar names – Jobim, Gilberto, Caymmi, Veloso.

Brazilian music has attracted club DJs and mixers from New York to Europe, sometimes giving traditional or well known tunes their unique twist so up next were two examples of this via Mr. Hermano and Original Soul Boy, featuring vocalist Monica Vasconcelos. Monica lives and performs in the UK and was featured extensively in a recent and highly recommended BBC4 programme on the rise of bossa nova. Catch it here on BBC iPlayer. Rather than Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo is the heart of Brazil’s current club culture and it was here that celebrated DJs Marky and XRS were responsible for an infectious drum and bass version of Jorge Ben’s already anthemic Carolina Bela.

The programme included more tunes than any previous hour-blue brazillong Cosmic Jazz. Many of the older tunes are short, sweet and perfectly formed. So I played a non-stop mix of great music, starting with two personal favourites Tenorio Jr – another Cosmic Jazz all-time top tune – and the beautifully melodic Lo Borges from Blue Brazila series of re-releases by Blue Note from the EMI Brazil catalogue. There were three records in the series and examples from all three featured in the programme.

The mix featured old-school Brazilian singers/groups – but with one  exception. We featured the more contemporary, although brazilian love affair 5traditional sounding, Sabrina Malheiros from one of the excellent UK compilation series on FarOut Records – Brazilian Love Affair. This Malheiros track comes from Volume 5. All are recommended mixes of old and new Brazilian material and most are still available in online. Malheiros, by the way, is daughter of Azymuth bass player Alex Malheiros – and so the tradition continues…. For a taste of long running jazz-influenced trio listen to their version of Milton Nascimento’s famous track Outubro. The album is re-released on vinyl this month by – yes – FarOut Records.

Brazil’s musical traditions include a number of unique percussion instruments – most notably, the cuica and the berimbau. We blue brazil 3featured the virtuoso Dom um Romao invoking the sounds of the Amazon and followed this with Milton Banana and then legendary vocalist Elza Soares with Roberto Ribeiro. If you are familiar with these artists, then you will know just how good they are. If not, then there’s so much to explore in these excellent compilations. At the age of 79,  Soares has just released her latest album, Woman at the End of the World. This is no walk on Copacabana Beach – Soares has lived the most extraordinary life and she documents it all in this new recording.

This rich and varied CJ mix continued with a tune from a recent Gilles Peterson Sonzeira project. Peterson has had a long association with the music of Brazil and you can watch his excellent 2014 film tracing both the creative journey of the follow up Bam Bam Bam project and his own Brazilian experiences. Our final tune came from Paulinho Da Costa – another Brazilian musician who went to the US and has been the featured percussionist on hundreds of albums. Our CJ selection is a version of another Jorge Ben classic and available on a jazz funk compilation from British label BGP Records.

  1. Otis Trio – Montag’s Dream from 74 Club
  2. Bruno E – Dado from Lovely Arthur
  3. Airto Moreira – It’s Time For Carnival from Batucada por Favor
  4. Joyce – Aldeia De Ogum from Feminina
  5. Mr. Hermano – Com Um Sol from Brazil 5000-3
  6. Soul Boy feat. Monica Vasconcelos – Touch The Sun from Brazil 5000-3
  7. Tenorio Jr – Nebulosa from Brazilian Beats 1
  8. Lo Borges – Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser from Blue Brazil 1
  9. Sabrina Malheiros – Estacao Verao from Brazilian Love Affair 5
  10. Dom Um Romao – Berimbau from Bossa Jazz
  11. Milton Banana – Procissao from Blue Brazil Vol 2
  12. Elza Soares and Roberto Ribeiro – O Que Vem De Baixo Nao Me Atinge from Blue Brazil Vol 3
  13. Sonzeira – Um Toque from Brasil Bam Bam
  14. Paulinho Da Costa – Taj Mahal from BGP Presents Jazz Funk


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