A fantastic collection of rare bossa material from Italy! The set's one of the best we've ever seen of this type, and it's a completely fresh batch of tunes that breaks past a lot of the other Italian compilations of recent years. Some of the artists are familiar names – like Morricone, Piccioni, and Trovajoli – but there's plenty of other artists that we've never even heard before! A few themes are reworkings of familiar soundtrack tunes, but most of the material is original – and done with a sparkling sound that's really great! The grooves are filled with loads of tight drums, bubbling organ, jangly piano, and sweet female vocals in sort of a Morricone-ish tradition. Great stuff, and with 20 excellent tracks that include "Amori Finiti" by Giancarlo Gazzani, "Relief" by The Black Fire, "Rossana" by Armando Trovajoli, "Sometime" by A Santisteban, "Tema Di Linda" by Franco Micalizzi, "Curriculum" by Franco Chiari, "Coronado 990" by Orchestra Henry Stone, "Meditation" by Romano Mussolini, and "Warm Blood" by Tullio Gallo. (Funky Compilations, Brazil)LP, Vinyl record album
The only album we've ever seen by Hermes Aquino – a mid 70s singer/songwriter from Brazil, of the same post-bossa generation as Lo Borges and Milton Nascimento! Like those bigger names, Hermes works here in a style that's both personal and more wide-ranging – great songs helped along by backings that bring in a bit of jazz at some points, other acoustic instrumentation at others – all fused nicely with a subtle electric glide. Arrangements are by Wilson Mauro, who does a great job of lifting the songs up to the right level – and titles include "Cuidado", "Nuvem Passageira", "Longas Conversas", "Cavaleiro Do Sul", "2010", "Bola Louca E Colorida", and "Desencontro Da Primavera". CD
Searing samba soul from Jorge Ben – one of his best-remembered albums of the 70s, and for good reason too! The album's got a slightly fuller feel than some of Ben's other work of the time – never slick, but with backings balanced nicely against his own raspy vocals and acoustic guitar – sweetening things up with a bit of the strings you'd find on Forca Bruta, but with a hint of the soul to come on Africa Brasil! The balance is great – thanks to arrangers Osmar Milito, Darcy De Paulo, and Hugo Bellard – and as usual, Jorge's vocals are the main attraction – dipping, turning, and rising with this really unique, personal feel – Ben-like brilliance at its brightest. The whole thing's wonderful – a key gem from the Philips years – and titles include "Cinco Minutos", "Zumbi", "Brother", "Os Alquimistas Estao Chegando Os Alquimistas", "Errare Humanum Est", "Menina Muler Da Pele Preta", "Hermes Tri", and "O Namorado Da Viuva". LP, Vinyl record album
A trio of remixes – all of which take this jazzy Brazilian tune in a very different direction! First up is Max Graef, who's really deconstructed the track – and has the keyboards kind of shining in the skies, while the bassline gets all muddy and earthy! Glenn Astro lives up to his name, by bringing the keyboards up even more, and letting them bristle with a space age vibe – and Contours bring more of a cosmic, almost 4Hero sort of groove to the tune! 12-inch, Vinyl record
A rare single from this legendary Bay Area Brazilian group – one that was only issued on a small pressing by a local music store! Side one features "Hal's Hobbits" – the story of how some Hobbits formed Hal's Music Center – a pretty goofy spoken bit. But side two features an early cut by bossa maestro Victor M – a totally great take on the Marcos Valle tune "Crickets Sing For Anamaria" (Os Grilos) – with great vocals from a female singer, a sweet flute solo near the end, and lots of driving percussion! (Funky 45's, Brazil)7-inch, Vinyl record
(Single has a very slight dish warp, but is pretty great overall.)
Ivan Lins —
Juntos ... LP Philips (Brazil), 1984. Near Mint- ...
A stone classic from the great Ivan Lins – a set recorded at a time when he was fast becoming a big name on the global scene, not just in Brazil – thanks to his wonderful sense of songwriting and lyricism! The album's almost a celebration of all that Lins had done so far – put together with close collaborators Gilson Peranzzetta and Vitor Martins – and done with lots of great help from famous guests who include MPB4, Erasmo Carlos, Nana Caymmi, Tim Maia, Elis Regina, and Patti Austin. The arrangements are wonderful – sophisticated and offbeat, and every bit as compelling as Lins' work from the 70s – and titles include "Abre Alas", "Comecar De Novo", "Novo Tempo", "Formigueiro", "Dinorah Dinorah", and "Juntos". LP, Vinyl record album
(US pressing, including the insert.)
Made In Brasil with Victor M —
Numero Um ... LP Nucleus, 1975. Sealed ...
A totally sweeeeeeeet batch of Brazilian grooves – recorded in San Francisco, with a great 70s Bay Area sound! Victor M leads the group on percussion and vocals – but the real charm of the set is in its electric piano riffing, and soulful electric vibe. Most of the cuts have vocals – kind of in a Sergio Mendes 70s style, or in the mode of some of Marcos Valle's more electric work – and although the tunes are mostly familiar numbers like "Reza", "Agua De Beber", "Zazueira", "Upa Neguinho", and "Crickets Sing For Anamaria", they're done in a mode that's very fresh – kind of a bridge between 60s Brazilian interpretations, and later ones by recent groups! LP, Vinyl record album
The second album by Sergio and crew – and a real push forward for the group! The basic format of two-female harmony leads is still in place – but for some reason, this album gives a bit more of a nod to Brazilian roots than before, and really spices things up with an even more interesting array of songs! There's a bit less of the pop/cover style than before, and a bit more of a nod towards the hipper side of Brazilian music – especially the modernists of the bossa nova generation. Brazilian tunes include versions of "Constant Rain", "Cinnamon & Clove", "Bim Bom", and "Wave" – and there's also a few nice English numbers, like their hit version of "Night & Day", and a great reading of "Watch What Happens"! LP, Vinyl record album
A weird little set of bossa grooves – one with an obscure origin, but a great sound overall! The album features singer Claudio Meranda, working here with an unnamed group – and the session was produced by Jack Millman, who we know as a west coast jazz talent – although due to the lack of notes, we're not sure if he's leading the group or not, but the backing is in small combo mode – with guitar, bass, percussion, and a touch of flute! The tracks are dreamy and lovely, and although we're not sure if Meranda's actually Brazilian, and although the recording quality has a weird echoey quality to it, the overall sound is still quite nice, with some unexpected dark edges – almost like Geraldo Vandre at times! Titles include "Tristeza", "Agua De Beber", "Samba For Two", "Tem Do De Mim", "O Barquinho", and "My Kind Of Girl". CD
Moderna Orquestra De Samba —
Sambalanco ... CD Pawal/Ultra Vybe (Japan), 1963. New Copy ...
A totally wonderful little combo – and one that features some excellent horn solos with a very jazzy vibe! The groove here is definitely the samba rhythms you'd expect, but there's also a lot of jazz in the mix too – a strong sense of soloing that has some key players stepping out from the larger lineup for extended spots on their own – including a alto saxophonist, a trumpeter, and trombonist – all with a very well-developed sound! The rhythms are great – nice and lively – but its these (unfortunately unnamed) soloists who really make the album great – and give it way more flavor than just a standard Brazilian instrumental set. The group's led by maestro Marku Rupe – and titles include "Sem Bossa", "Tao Bom", "Era Bom", "Caminhando", "O Tempo Nao Desfaz", "A Sandalia Dela", "Doi Doi Doi", and "O Maioral". CD
Jorge Ben —
Big Ben ... CD Philips/Universal (Brazil), 1963. New Copy ...
Brilliant early work from Jorge Ben – a set that shouldn't be confused with the US album of the same name, and which is one of Jorge's first few gems of the 60s! The album's got Ben stepping out with a slightly jazzier feel than on his debut – a style that's still heavily steeped in the guitar-driven samba that first won him fame, but which also features a fair bit of bossa-influenced instrumentation too – bits of piano, flute, and horns that echo with some darker colors and tones that really add a lot to the tunes! The backings are never too full – nor too full of themselves – but this added level of sophistication really helps push Jorge into a range of fresh new sounds – and that's saying a lot, given how fresh his music from the time already was. Titles include "Agora Ninguem Chora Mais", "Telefone De Brotinho", "Patapatapata", "Na Bahia Tem", "Jorge Well", "Deixa O Menino Brincar", "Bom Mesmo E Amar", and "O Homem Que Matou O Homem Que Matou O Homem Mau". CD
Forro In The Dark sound better here than ever before – working with producer Kassin, on a set of tracks recorded both in Brooklyn and in Rio – with a vibe that's maybe more faithful to their Brazilian inspiration than any of their previous records! The core trio handle a fantastic amount of percussion, guitar, and reed instruments – with modes that start with the forro of their name, but also branch out into other Brazilian styles – and have some of the captivating qualities of the best independent acts from Brazil in recent years. Kassin plays on most of the record, about half the tracks feature vocals, and titles include "I Wanna Know", "Forro Da Casa Grande", "Ou Sim", "Roca De Pedra", "Craudineia No Forro", "Voce Nao E Insubstituviel", and "Drifting Away". CD
Forro In The Dark sound better here than ever before – working with producer Kassin, on a set of tracks recorded both in Brooklyn and in Rio – with a vibe that's maybe more faithful to their Brazilian inspiration than any of their previous records! The core trio handle a fantastic amount of percussion, guitar, and reed instruments – with modes that start with the forro of their name, but also branch out into other Brazilian styles – and have some of the captivating qualities of the best independent acts from Brazil in recent years. Kassin plays on most of the record, about half the tracks feature vocals, and titles include "I Wanna Know", "Forro Da Casa Grande", "Ou Sim", "Roca De Pedra", "Craudineia No Forro", "Voce Nao E Insubstituviel", and "Drifting Away". LP, Vinyl record album