CJ hosts more more music from Brazil this week, showing the diversity of musical styles in this, the world’s fifth biggest country. There’s some classic Brazilian tunes but also a taste of new Brazil from some of the great contemporary artists and producers that create this rich diversity. We begin with one of the great Brazilian songwriters Marcos Valle, who was there at the start of the bossa nova movement and is still producing great new music on the British Far Out label. Joe Davis – boss at Far Out – recorded Nova Bossa Nova with Valle in 1997. The superb Bar Ingles is a real highlight, too.
Having initially made a name for himself alongside the second wave of bossa nova’s pioneers in the mid 60s, Valle toured and lived in the US before returning to Brazil where the rise of the military dictatorship encouraged Valle to integrate more rock, soul and pop elements into his writing.
To find out about Valle and the sheer diversity of his musical career, check out this feature on the excellent Vinyl Factory site and then go back some of Valle’s adventurous 1970s recordings. Our choice from Nova Bossa Nova originally appeared on the first of these – the eponymous Marcos Valle album from 1970 which features expansive, cinematic arrangements and further pop, jazz and soul influences. These returned in the Estaticia album of 2010 on FarOut which successfully combines all of these with the contemporary production techniques which have endeared him to remixers such as Theo Parrish, Budgie and Daz-I-Kue. Listen to all three on Bandcamp here.
Which brings us to production. What marked out classic bossa nova and samba music was the melodic strength of the songwriting, but the key feature of much great Brazilian music of more recent years is the quality of production – whether it’s the spacious orchestral arrangements of Eumir Deodato and Arthur Verocai or the electronic twists and turns of Chico Dub and Suba, the influential producer of our next track. Serbian-born Suba had already established a name for himself in Sao Paulo as producer to a number of new Brazilian artists, including Bebel Gilberto, when he died there in a studio fire. His own posthumous album Sao Paulo Confessions is worth investigating. Read more about this hotbed of musical creativity here.
Last week’s programme featured music from some of the excellent compilations of Brazilian music that have appeared in recent years and this week there’s more from the same eclectic sources. Of course, it’s easy for a record company to put out a downtempo tie-in with the current Rio Olympics – but how to select from this musical minefield? Our recommendation would be to start with the great Mr Bongo box set Brazilian Beats. Now available at a bargain price for all seven original discs along with a special mix CD, this is as good a starting place as any. Pretty much every style of music from the last fifty years is represented here, including music from the frentic cybercity that is Sao Paulo. The Jair Oliveira track, which comes from his Outro release of 2002, is a good example of that typical musical mix of jazz, samba, soul and MPB (Musica Popula Brasileira) that is part of much contemporary Brazilian music. Seu Jorge’s infectious Chega No Suingue (check out a live version here) is on Brazilian Beats 3.
Japan’s Jazzadelic are one of the many remix teams who have applied their skills to Brazilian music. Here they’re at work with more conventional jazz beats – including a very familiar Coltrane loop… We featured their Estranguira from the first Sister Bossa album and followed it with a tune from the quality that is Gilles Peterson’s first GP In Brazil compilation. We think either of these excellent compilations (see photos) are your other place to start on your Brazilian journey. We ended the show with some musical sources – iconic artists that have defined their country’s music. First, the inspired singing of Milton Nascimento from one of his essential albums, simply called Milton, followed by Azymuth’s crossover hit Jazz Carnival from the recent vinyl reissue Light as Feather. The Tamba Trio were one of the backbones of Brazilian bossa and all of their original releases are worth looking out for, but particularly their Avanco album from 1963 which features this irresistible version of Jorge Ben’s Mas Que Nada – yes, the Nike advertisement one!
We ended with two artists at their peak – the aforementionend Jorge Ben and a musician frequently found slumming it in an easy listening compilation. But don’t let that put you off investigating more of the great Sergio Mendes, and – specifically – the return to form that is Brasileiro. On this album, Mendes sought to reclaim his Brazilian roots and so dived back into the rhythmical heritage of forro, samba reggae and Bahian grooves to create a must-have classic. Highly recommended.
- Marcos Valle – Freio Aerodynamico from Nova Bossa Nova
- Bebel Gilberto – Close Your Eyes from Tanto Tempo
- Rosa Passos – Retrato Em Brance E Preto from Amorosa
- Jair Oliveira – Sao Paulo, Fim Do Dia from Outro
- Seu Jorge – Chega No Suingue from Brazilian Beats 3
- Jazzadelic – Estrangeira from Sister Bossa
- Cesar Mariano and Cia – Futebol De Bar from Gilles Peterson in Brazil
- Milton Nascimento – Cravo E Canela from Milton
- Azymuth – Jazz Carnival from Light As a Feather
- Tamba Trio – Mas Que Nada from Avanco
- Jorge Ben – No Reino Encantado De Amor from
- Sergio Mendes – Pipoca from Brasileiro
Derek is listening to:
- Gilberto Gil – Maracatu Atomico
- Airto Moreira – Tombo in 7/4
- Sonia Rose with Yuji Ohno – Casa Forte
- Friends From Rio – Cravo E Canela
- Flora Purim – Moon Dreams
Neil is listening to:
- Dinosaur – Living, Breathing
- Oddarang – Mass I-III
- Weather Report – Port of Entry
- Gregory Porter – Consequence of Love
- Wayne Shorter – Vera Cruz