Master Composers: Torcuato Mariano Penning From His “Diary”

Originally penned after Rio’s Carnaval in 2004, this album is sure to please


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By the time Torcuato Mariano penned his most famous work, Paradise Station–it would be another decade before Diary was released to the world.

Two songs immediately come to mind when I first heard them on the radio:

Track 2, “Blue Bossa” and Track 7, “Mariana.”  The other songs are very well done, as the guitar gets the most attention and rightfully so.

Similar to the other mentioned album, there are very few vocals.

I also settled on choosing this album since it strikes the proper balance of both very soothing and relaxing, good-natured tones since Brazil suffered yet another disappointing loss last Friday in the FIFA World Cup to Belgium of all countries.

And yes, I profiled Torcuato in one of my first blogs way back in 2012.

Here are my original thoughts from the very early days to refresh your memory:

Next week, I am planning a really cool DVD concert review again from Ivete Sangalo.

This time around, we see her on a stage outside one of Rio’s famous beaches.  This really cool outdoor concert took place in 2017, and I thought this would be a perfect album to profile in the middle of summer.

Look for that next week along with another cool album review of one of the earliest albums from Gal Costa–celebrating its’ 30th anniversary of the release titled, Aquarela Do Brasil.

Please enjoy the rest of your week and I will hope that you leave some comments besides this or any of my other past blogs.  Take care, everybody.


Happy Anniversary, Bossa Nova

What started on July 10, 1958 by Joao Gilberto has spanned six decades of joy, fun, and plenty of interesting moments

From the First Family of Brazilian Jazz that was Joao and Astrud Gilberto, and continuing to this day with Bebel, legends like Antonio Carlos Jobim, Elis Regina, Stan Getz, Baden Powell, and Sergio Mendes helped spur the movement north to the United States.

From the 1990’s to today, the likes of Minas, Eliane Elias, Maria Bethania, Gal Costa, Marcos Valle, Ricardo Silveira, Luciana Souza, along with loyal friends of this blog in Sabrina Malheiros, Glaucia Nasser, Liz Rosa, Monica da Silva, Zizi and Luiza Possi, and Fabiana Passoni continue the tradition.

Without it, this world would be a different place musically speaking.

But if you cannot find a belo de rolo (thin sponge cake, which is a popular dessert in today’s Brazil), go grab a slice of your favorite cake and let us all raise our glasses by making this virtual toast (first in Portuguese, then in American English):

Ao movimento da bossa nova em sessenta anos memoráveis e esperançosamente, haverá sessenta mais. Um grande obrigado a todos os artistas que pavimentaram o caminho e àqueles que orgulhosamente carregam a tocha durante este momento muito especial.

Semelhante aos anúncios de cigarros dos anos 70 emplastrados na parte de trás dos programas de beisebol nos Estados Unidos–tudo o que posso dizer é: “Você percorreu um longo caminho, baby”.

To the bossa nova movement on sixty memorable years and hopefully, there will be sixty more. A huge thank you to every artist which paved the way and to those who proudly carry the torch during this very special moment.

Similar to those 1970’s cigarette ads plastered on the back of baseball programs in the United States–all I can say is, “You have come a long way, baby.”


Artists Worth Checking Out: Danni Carlos


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Born July 2, 1975 in Rio–Danni Carlos has made quite a career out of mixing up popular rock and pop tunes from the latter part of the 20th century into the very cool and suave bossa beat that Brazilian music fans come to know and expect.

Besides appearing in some movies and acting on television, her peak period of albums came 2003 and 2006.  I was fortunate enough to spend a decent chunk of June playing these popular songs, and these were my top five choices:

5. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Volume 1 and on the “Ao Vivo” disk.

Made popular by U2 in 1987.

4. It Must Have Been Love, Volume 2.

Made popular by Wilson Phillips in 1991.

3. Freedom, Volume 3.

Made popular by George Michael in 1990.

2. Like A Prayer, Volume 2.

Made popular by Madonna in 1990.

  1. Back On The Chain Gang, Volume 2.

Made popular by The Pretenders in 1984.

SPECIAL NOTE:  With the United States in holiday mode with the upcoming Independence Day holiday on Wednesday, I wish to take this opportunity to wish all of my favorite MPB’s and fans a very Happy and safe Fourth of July.  I will be back again the week of July 8 with another cool blog for your reading pleasure.

And let us send our continued best wishes for Halie Loren, who is wrapping up her American tour in the same city where Danica Patrick recently called it a career in auto racing after over 13 memorable years in Indianapolis.  Halie will then headline a huge four night stop in Tokyo, Japan before making single stops later this month in Seoul, Korea; Paris, and finally, London before coming home.

And yes, I would be remiss but to wish the Brazil National Soccer (Futbol) Team boa sorte/good luck in their Knockout (Sweet 16) Round World Cup match against powerful Mexico on Monday in Russia.  If I had to compare it to an NCAA Tournament dream bracket, it would be like when Indiana beat North Carolina in 1984 ending the college career of one Michael Jordan.  Or in 2002, when the Hoosiers entered that stage in Lexington, Kentucky as the 5 seed against the South Region’s top seed in Duke and Indiana beat the Blue Devils rather soundly.
With longtime nemesis Argentina bounced from the tournament on Saturday, a statement I commonly mention a lot in March in my other blog definitely applies here–Expect the Unexpected.

Will Brazil’s key stars find the back of the net?  Stick around to Fox or Telemundo and find out for yourselves.  Enjoy the match, everybody.


Artists Worth Checking Out: Paulinho Garcia

Just in time for Brazilian Valentine’s Day, this album has all things Love on every song


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Paulinho Garcia was born in Belo Horizonte, a city located in Mina Gerais, Brazil.

After dabbling with playing the drums and for a while the bass in his teenage years, he gravitated towards playing the guitar.

By the time he moved to Chicago in 1979, where he became a mainstay for the group Made in Brazil.  When the Chicago Bulls won the first of their six NBA titles in 1991, Garcia started his own band Jazzminiero.

He has been saluted in many jazz publications from Jazziz Magazine to Neil Tesser, author of The Playboy Guide To Jazz–along with many popular newspapers worldwide.  Outside of spending a year (2009-2010) teaching in Russia at the Moscow College of Improvised Music, he continues to teach Brazilian vocals and guitar at the famous Old Town School of Folk Music located on Chicago’s North Side.

Just one look on his website and one click on the often perplexing, yet universal question:  What is Love?  He offers an interesting take on the subject:

“What I think about love is what I think about life.  (It) can be a bad thing, a hard thing, or a very nice thing.  This is just how I approached my life.  When I had obstacles, I accepted it as it comes.  The album is assessing love as it is.”

One listen to the two Portuguese singing tracks, or any of his covers to popular romantic tunes to “When I Fall In Love”, “If You Could See Me Now”, and “That Old Feeling”…get ready to have the time of your life.

Overall, it is one excellent album–right up there with Soulstance, or any of the romantic themed albums done by Diana Krall, Halie Loren, Luciana Souza, or Fabiana Passoni.  It definitely strikes the right, yet delicate balance great for feeling romantic or simply wanting to fall in love.

Each song flows beautifully, and the songs never make the listener feel rushed.  Perfect for a nice, candlelight dinner.  And to those of you reading this blog in Brazil, my hope and wish is that you have a very Happy Brazilian Valentine’s Day.  Just don’t overindulge on the chocolate, unlike some people I know do it every year in February-hehehehe;).

I will be back with another cool album review, hopefully later in the week.




Artists Worth Checking Out: Ulisses Rocha


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This popular Brazilian guitarist performed at many jazz festivals not only in his homeland, but according to a brief bio on the Allmusic website–he also has taken his act to Paris, Canada, and the United States.  Among some of his other works were   1985’s Alguma Coisa A Ver Com O Silencio, Casamata, and Caminhos Cruzados from 1993.  Rocha made his American debut with the album Moleque (translated meaning, Child) for Malandro Records in 1998.

The album is simply a yawner on most of the tracks.  If you want to have an album worth taking a nap to, this would be a great choice.  From the classic opening track, “Aqua de Beber” to the title track, and “Nossa Gente” (“Our People”) on Track 8, the pace is very relaxed throughout.

The other interesting reason to get this album on CD is that the late Oscar Castro Neves penned the liner notes and thoroughly explained why the guitar has been widely popular in Brazilian music since the late 1950’s.

I am not saying this album is bad, but I have heard better albums before.  So, in my book–it is average–not great, but not horrible like the one image of a barefoot boy kicking a soccer ball on the cover which I covered a few years back.

As for Ulisses, he continues to tour across the world.  No new signs of any future albums are forthcoming.

I plan to make it up with a really cool review of Paulinho Garcia’s 2014 cool album, Beautiful Love–just in time for Dia dos Namorados, Brazilian Valentine’s Day which is on Tuesday, June 12.

As a matter of fact, the word love is mentioned in exactly one third of the tracks (5 out of 15 overall).  Only on two of the tracks are sung in Portuguese, so I plan to have a bit more virtual romantic vibes.

Hopefully, most Brazilians will have fun on their special day like the rest of the world tries to pucker up each February 14.  But as Wikipedia cleverly mentions, with Carnival often falling around the similar times as New Orleans’ wild Mardi Gras celebrations–Brazil decided many years ago to have their version of Valentine’s Day on Tuesday evening in honor of St. Anthony of Padua.

See you then.  Please enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Artists Worth Checking Out: The Richard Sorce Project


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Richard Sorce has been on the faculty at Ramapo College and William Paterson University (New Jersey) since 1999. He holds a Ph.D. in music theory and composition from New York University.  While still based in New York City,  he brought along very skilled musicians featuring the likes of Rob Reich (guitar), Sue Wiliams (bass), Don Giunta (drums), Dave Yee (percussion), Mark Friedman (alto sax, flute), Fred Maxwell (trumpet, flugelhorn), Brian Bonvissuto (trombone).

Also featured prominently is the vocalist by the name of Iara Negrete.  She comes by way of São Paulo and grew up in a musical family, with her father being a classical guitaris).  Her early inflences include the likes of Elis Regina, Leny Andrade, Sarah Vaughan, and Stevie Wonder.  She also has a pair of Brazilian albums to her credit, just like Sorce.

This over 71 minute compilation album has some really good natured songs, with a playful set of lyrics and a relaxing beat appropriate for either work or travel.  Sorce himself referred on several music review websites as, “reminiscent of the Brazilian style of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.”

The first pair of songs start out on the slower side, before the tempo picks up at a more faster pace on the radio friendly played track, “Samba Para a Vida”.

The remainder of the album mostly continues on the fun and cheerful vibe, as Negrete sings her way through many fun bossa type tunes.

Overall, it is a very cool listen and definitely one album worth adding to your jazz library.  It is available on Amazon and eBay for physical CD purchase, and also on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music for instant streaming.

Next week, I will dive back into my CD archive and see what disk I decide to pull out.  Hope to see you all then.

Speaking of Something Special

On Saturday, May 5, my mother along with a friend of hers had the chance to see the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

It was part of 40 Embassies participating in an Around the World Embassy Tour, which was open to visitors and on different days, other Embassies took part in similar open tours.

On this particular muggy afternoon (where temperatures that particular day soared toward 95 degrees), she got the chance to view some artwork unique to the region of Amazonas along with seeing some regional dance and music troupes performing on the Embassy grounds.

The four story complex dates back as far back as 1908.  Four Tuscan-style pillars and a coat of arms carved from limestone give off that special touch to special dignitaries and visitors alike.

Known as McCormick Villa, it was named in honor of the original owners, U.S. diplomat and Chicago Tribune founder Robert McCormick and his wife Katherine.

The Brazilian government purchased the property in 1934 during the height of America’s Great Depression.

The brochures you see pictured above are dozens of tourism, entertainment, and athletic venues located throughout the region simply known as the “Brazilian Green Destination”.  Bordered by Colombia and Venezuela to the north, Peru to the west, and Mato Grosso to the south, amidst all of the forestry and greenery–there are three shopping malls within a few kilometers (or a few miles) from each other.  There is also a museum that opened in 2010, reliving the colorful history of former Governor Eduardo Goncalves Ribeiro.  And of course, this blog would not be complete without mentioning it is the home to soccer/futbol’s Arena Da Amazonia, a 44,000 seat stadium inspired simply by many twisted fibers of straw baskets which opened in time to host several early round matches during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

If you wish to find out more about when the Embassy is planning to do open days in the future, it is located at 3006 Massachusetts Avenue Northwest in Washington’s famed Embassy Row and their website is both readable in American English and Portuguese.