Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Quarteto Sambacana - Muito Pra Frente Odeon MOFB 3443 (1965)

Milton Nascimento & Pacifico Mascarenhas (vocals); Geraldo Vespar (guitar); J.T. Meirelles (alto sax & flute); Tião Marinho (bass); Wilson das Neves (drums); Ubirajara Cabral (piano); Ed Maciel & Joao Luis (trombone); Mauricio (trumpet); Moacir Marques (tenor sax); J. Claudio (vibes) and others...

1) Tom Da Canção
2) O Vento Que Soprou
3) Até Você Voltar
4) Aladim
5) Era Um Dia Assim
6) Estrela Caindo
7) Eu E Você
8) Sem Me Olhar
9) Fui Olhar Pra Você
10) Mesmo Céu
11) Você É Muito Mais
12) Tarde Azul
13) Apareceu Na Tarde
14) O Navio E Você

A great bossa LP with divine vocal harmonizing led by composer Pacific Mascarenhas...


Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Marcos Samm - Psiu!... Polydor LPNG 44.049 (1970)

Events are conspiring against me so I'll keep this one short and sweet. A killer LP with lashings of groovy bossa beats.

Funky, jazzy and soulful in equal measure and provided by such luminaries as Erlon Chaves, Ivan Paulo, Antonio Adolfo and Nonato Buzar with arrangements by Roberto Menescal. Sold?

1) Beija-Me
2) Ela
3) Menina Esperança
4) Meu Lugar
5) Canto Puro Amor
6) Faço A Festa
7) De Encontro Ao Vento
8) Rosa-Maria
9) Blue
10) Alô Helô
11) Psiu!
12) Por Quê - Minha Namorada


Friday, March 17, 2006

Brazilian Octopus

Brazilian Octopus - Brazilian Octopus Fermata SFB-257 (LF-163) (1969)

Picture a band that features musicians from schools so different as the multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal, the post-tropicalist guitar hero Lanny Gordin, bossa nova pianist Cido Bianchi (former Milton Banana Trio), acoustic guitarist Olmir 'Alemão' Stocker and jazz bassist Nilson da Matta. The surprising meeting happened in 1968 and helped write a little known chapter in the history of instrumental music in Brazil called Brazilian Octopus, whose only release is hunted by record collectors. "This is undoubtedly the strangest Brazilian group ever", writes Marcelo Dolabela in his dictionary ABZ do Rock Brasileiro (printed on Estrela do Sul, 1987). "At that time, we didn't care about the money, we just wanted to play. It was a wonderful experience", recalls Celso Bianchi, also a maestro and arranger.

Brazilian Octopus was lined up in São Paulo in the beginning of 1968 by Lívio Rangan, manager of a textile factory that promoted musical fashion shows to promote their products. "Lívio used to like me a lot. He even claimed he was gonna turn me into the new Sergio Mendes", tells the musician, appointed by Rangan as the group's coordinator. In fact, Brazilian Octopus was born with uncommon space in the market: a contract for a year of work that included three months of rehearsals during which the musicians received salaries. At that time, the band also recorded an album with Japanese saxophonist Sadao Watanabe.

'Gigs In A Cage'
The music director of the shows was the tropicalist maestro Rogério Duprat. Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso and Eliana Pittman also participated. "I dressed up in a lion costume in many of those shows. The whole group dressed up in animal costumes and played inside a cage", Hermeto recalls. Despite their very different backgrounds, the members knew one another because they all hung out in the same venues, specially the nightclub Stardust (managed by Lanny's father), where Hermeto, Bianchi and Alemão often performed. "I remember that we were rehearsing when the news was broken that guitarist Wes Montgomery had passed away", says Alemão. "As usual, there were little quarrels", claims the saxophonist Carlos Alberto, noticing that the "incompatibility of ideas" was frequent within the group, especially when it was time to choose the set list. It was different when, after a few months into rehearsals, the event manager suggested that the group make an album. "Lívio Rangan thought that we could insert a number of radio-friendly songs into the disc", recalls Alemão, who was in charge of contacting songwriters with whom he had worked before. "I gathered a number of unreleased songs which were refused by Cido Bianchi, who was more interested in playing jazz. One of them was Jorge Ben's País Tropical", teases the guitarist.

"Even when we had to play French or Italian songs that were part of the factory's repertoire, we always did it with dignity. That work influenced many of the things that I do today. That's why I reckon music is universal. Everybody is influenced by everybody else", says Hermeto, who was responsible for coordinating collective arrangements after a few misunderstandings popped up among the musicians. He also wrote two themes featured in this very rare LP : Rhodosando and Chayê, which were pop and Cuban cha-cha-cha fusions. "I got inspiration from the fashion models to write those songs. I already played nightclubs, then, so I could play many different styles", remembers the musician from Alagoas.

'Unexpected Extras On The Cover'
Other members also contributed with original compositions: Alemão (Canção Latina, written with Vitor Martins), vibraphone player João Carlos Pegoraro (Summerhill) and Lanny (O Pássaro). The recording of the latter provoked an argument between Hermeto and the sound technicians. "Due to the song's repetitive melody, he wrote the counterpoint to be played by two flutes, just to liven it up a bit. But when he heard the mixed track, the counterpoint had vanished. Hermeto was so furious that he wanted to beat the technician up ", laughs saxophonist Carlos Alberto, who also recalls that Pascoal does not appear on the cover of the album because he couldn't make it to the photo shooting. A clerk from an advertising agency sat by the piano, instead - as well as an old timer, a dog and a child, who had nothing to do with the making of the album, but appeared on the cover. The shooting took place on a piece of land that looked like the surface of the moon - a reference to the space race between the USA and former USSR.

Produced by Mário Albanese and Fausto Canova, the album Brazilian Octopus features new arrangements for Casa Forte (Edu Lobo), Pavane (Gabriel Fauré), Canção de Fim de Tarde (Walter Santos and Thereza Souza), Gosto de Ser Como Sou and Gamboa (Mário Albanese and Ciro Pereira), exploring a characteristic sound yielded by the flutes with the vibraphone, organ and guitars. "We never received a penny for that LP. It seems that it was released in Europe, even enjoying a little success", says Carlos Alberto, who claims that the members of the band tried to talk to Fermata's CEOs and get to know about the sales. Instead of checks, all they got was laudatory comments and an invitation to make a new album. Figuring that they would not get any money from it, they turned it down. The octet ended right there and then.

1) Gamboa
2) Rhodosando
3) Canção Latina
4) Pavane
5) As Borboletas
6) Momento B/8
7) Summerhill
8) Gosto De Ser Como Sou
9) Chayê
10) Canção De Fim De Tarde
11) O Pássaro
12) Casa Forte


Monday, March 13, 2006

São Paulo Jazz Funk

Banda Metalurgia - Banda Metalurgia Som Da Gente SD-6013 (1982)

Formed in 1980 and led by Trombonista Itacyr Bocato, this wonderful Brasilian jazz funk bomb boasts many great tunes. Slick jazzy rhythms set to a tight São Paulo horn section, very much akin to the more well-known Banda Black Rio and critically acclaimed on first release.

With Bocato on trombone are Lino Simão, Jacare & Julio Peluchi on saxophones, Nonô Camargo & Claudio Faria on trumpets, Mané Leao on piano, Marcelo Munari on guitar, Edu Fiore on bass and Claudinho on drums.

1) Multinacional
2) Amarelo
3) Impulso
4) Oi
5) Ap. 403
6) Barra Pesada
7) Lá Em Guayaquil
8) Ermelindo E Casanova
9) A Salsa E O Cheiro Verde
10) Esperando Edmundo
11) Em Tempo De Baeta
12) Samba Da Volta Ao Bernô

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Zimbo Trio - Opus Pop Nº 2 Philips 6349 080 (1973)

Formed in 1964 in São Paulo by classically trained pianist Amilton Godoy, bassist/composer/orchestrator Luís Chaves, and drummer Rubinho (Rubens Barsotti).

They performed for the first time under the name of Zimbo Trio at Oásis nightclub in São Paulo, accompanying the famous actress and novice singer Norma Benguel in a show directed by Aluísio de Oliveira.

In 1965, the trio travelled to Lima and Buenos Aires, and it was at the festival of Mar del Plata, Argentina, they received the Cancioneiro das Américas award. They were then hired to perform regularly on the TV show 'O Fino da Bossa', produced by Elis Regina and Jair Rodrigues. The Zimbo Trio received awards for best soundtrack for the movies Noite Vazia (1965, Walter Hugo Khoury) and A Margem, (1967, Ozualdo Candeias).

In 1972, they toured Portugal and Spain with Elizete Cardoso. Accompanying the Brazilian singer Sílvia Maria on Adilson's "Heróica," The Zimbo Trio was awarded first prize at the Festival de Onda Nueva, Caracas, Venezuela. Since 1973 the trio has been in charge of the Centro Livre de Aprendizagem Musical (Free Center for Musical Studies), an entity dedicated to the teaching of a wide spectrum of musical styles.

With a career spanning 40 years, and more than 40 albums, including guest appearances, Zimbo Trio’s line-up has remained unchanged since its inception.

Although some of their LPs are quite pedestrian, they are true exponents of the bossa form and could even turn their hands to more progressive & funky fusion offerings. This album is pretty disimilar to that Zimbo sound boasting haunting renditions of Bach or Chopin classics turned inside-out into hip bossa grooves. Fans of wordless female vocals and dreamy scatting won't be disappointed.

1) Sevilla
2) Festa No Sertão
3) Wachet Auf Ruff Uns Die Stimme
4) Prelúdio
5) La Danse d'Anitra
6) Playera
7) Sicilienne
8) Largo
9) Narcisos


Friday, March 03, 2006

Dr. Jorge López Ruiz

Jorge López Ruíz - Viejas Raíces II, De Las Colonias Del Río De La Plata Trova DA 5009 (Arg)(1976)

What can one say about legendary bassist Jorge López Ruiz that can do the man justice? He's a Composer and Director and has made music for more than 60 films, 40 Plays and 400 recitals. He was instrumental in the creation of the successful Argentinean record label TROVA, of which he was the first Director of A&R. During this period they made most of the recordings of artists like Vinicius de Moraes, Astor Piazzola, Dorival Caymmi as well as producer, arranger and director of stars like Sandro, Piero, Leonardo Favio and Sergio Denis.

Doctor of Music (Compostion & Performance) from Columbia Pacific University, Doctorship of The London Institute of Applied Research and Social Sciences Director of the Laboratory of Music Electro-Acoustics as well as recipient of too numerous awards & medals to list here!

In the first half of the 70's he gained Professorship of the Argentinean Institute Of Cinematography and in 1975 rose to the position of A&R Director of EMI-ODEON in Argentina.

His musical accomplishments are staggering, as well playing acoustic & electric bass on many respected jazz outings he's a mean cellist and pianist. He played with a legendary quintet led by Lalo Schifrin in 1956-1957 that featured saxophonist Gato Barbieri. López Ruiz had also been Schifrin's big band bassist along with Gato. He always played with the very best in Argentinean jazz.

The local scene in Argentina in the mid-70's was extremely conservative, with a majority of musicians, critics and media people dead against avant-garde jazz. Traditional and mainstream jazz seemed to be what most attracted the public; more modern jazz had only a moderate appeal. So the fact that some of the better-known modern jazzmen were ready for the challenge of free and avant-garde jazz, was almost intolerable to the rest of the musicians and the opinion makers. Then the listeners had their say and they responded positively to the challenging music this avant-garde minority was producing, much to the astonishment of everyone involved. This middle-class group of musicians, reacting in their own artistic way to the many challenges of the epoch, opened new ground for music development in Argentina.

The album I present today is musical testament to those troubled times - funky brooding jazz fusion that deserves a wider audience and a re-issue. Along with Matias Pizarro on piano and the great "Pocho" Lapouble on drums we are served up a delicious non-stop asssault on our senses. Again this is a lesser-known 'sequel' volume to the more in-demand Viejas Raíce I from the preceding year but is my personal favourite from this period in López Ruiz's career.

1) O'Placar
2) Para Nosotros Solamente
3) Balewada
4) Los Berugos Wor
5) La Hora de La Sed Maldita
6) El Viaje De Dumpty
7) Eterna Presencia
8) Mira Tú

As I have done on many an occasion, accompanied by this record, kick back with a cigar & an espresso and drink in the goodness of this timeless magnum opus...