Artists Worth Checking Out: Toco’s Outro Lugar a very refreshing, bubbly album

Image courtesy of melodycenta.com

Image courtesy of melodycenta.com

Born as Tomaz di Cunto in San Paulo in 1976, Toco started playing guitar when he was young.  One of his first projects while studying at Faap University was working on a television show called “Ensaio” (translated to “Test”).  Thanks to director Fernando Faro, Toco was then introduced to famous artists like Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil.  In 1999, Toco moved on to bigger ventures by following some musical acts.  Just before the turn of the century, he moved to Italy where he met Adi Souza, who worked as a vocalist under Rosalia de Souza and Vinicius de Moraes.  His first album “Instalac Do Samba” garnered huge airplay in Europe and Japan.

The album that I decided to focus is his second effort, “Outro Lugar”.  Initially it was recorded in Rio de Janeiro with a Brazilian band headed up by Roberto Menescal.  Extra instruments were added in Milan and released under the label Schema Records in 2008, there are plenty of fun sounds that can liven up any party, Super Bowl, Mardi Gras, or any other occasion.

The really eclectic tracks are Tracks 4 with the most perplexing song title ever translated, “Assuntos Banais” (or simply, “Mundane Matters”), Track 5 with Rosalia de Souza lending great vocals on “Bom Motivo”.  There is actually very good reason–speaking of which to listen to Track 9, almost a small take on Les Hommes “The Mood Is Modal” with the steady playing of double bass, drums, trombone, trumpets, flute and sax together by one person, and plenty of percussion.  Definitely the song,  “Guarapiranga” deserves special mention, but sadly this word cannot be translated.

Oh well.  It is still worth a listen, if you can find this CD.  Copies were scarce in 2013, and continue to be in scarce supply in Europe.

A great song to pass with all of the winter snow that impacted most of the Deep South early in the week and will miss New Jersey on Super Sunday is Track 10, “Contradicao” (or simply “Contradiction”) with the graceful vocals of one Coralie Clement (possibly another blog subject for another day).

The “Foolish Samba” closes out the album.  Very heavy cello action on that song, but if you want something slower–Tracks 1 and 11 will suit you just fine with the title track and the same title as Marcela Mangabeira’s initial effort of “Simples.”

While the Midwest continues to suffer with more snow of the weekend…

The next couple of months will be devoted to some special topics that should resonate well on both sides of the Equator.

So, here is what you can expect…

In February, I will highlight the five albums (including a two-fer during one of the weekends) for a timeless performer performing in his fifth decade doing multiple roles in Eumir Dedoato, or simply Deodato.  Also, by the time when Mardi Gras begins to penetrate New Orleans, Rio has a more orderly but fierce tradition (in a kind way) of their own called Carnaval.  I am sure there should be a few of our favorite MPB’s that might be chomping at the bit to lend some memories or maybe share with us some YouTube clips that aired on Brazilian national television through the years to make people like me appreciate a little what Carnaval is and what Rio looks forward to every single year.

But of course, we can always look forward past the shortest month of the year into March:

Expect to see the second annual version of the most popular Brazilian artist bracket modifying what the real “March Madness” will be when the brackets are released in Indianapolis on March 16 (and yes, I will be very busy on that other blog in the period starting after March 3 to tell which schools qualified and which might have a razor thin hair’s chance of reaching the field of 68).

In this space, I will look forward with great anticipation to diving into the works of a woman whose had quite a career and I will make every effort possible to get her thoughts on some of her memorable works.  She calls the Steel City, aka Heinz Ketchup Country home in Pittsburgh, but Gal Costa definitely belongs on any Brazilian jazz fan’s short list of not only artists worth checking out, but also as a true Master Composer.

Well, it is time for me to again take shelter from the piling up of yet more snow.  If the recent snow outside my residence is any indication–the only prevailing question is:  Where to put it?

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Updated image after more snow from February 5:

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See you next week.

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