Master Composers: Rique Pantoja Teaming Up With Ernie Watts


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Just in time for Mother’s Day, add this mellow and laid-back album to your brunch or dinner plans.

The music has true New Age flavor, coming out in 1989 during the last great run in smooth jazz before more vocal hits dominated on radio stations worldwide.

Not much in terms of biography information about Rique Pantoja is found online, but Ernie Watts had quite a career.  Born on October 23, 1945 in Norfolk, Virginia, he continues to make his mark using the flute, clarinet, and the saxophone as his instruments in choice.  For a time, he also toured with The Rolling Stones.  He has full credit on 20 different albums dating as far back as 1969 with Planet Love.  That list does not even count his 50 other times collaborating with famous artists such as Carole King in 1971 and Marvin Gaye two years later in 1973.

In my album Pick of the Week, the two collaborated on a nice, mellow effort blending in many different harmonies and styles.  With Pantoja running things with the keyboard, Watts on the tenor sax, Jurim Moreira on drums, and Armando Pacal on percussion, the result is a relaxing listen from start to finish.  My favorite tracks are the first and the last, “Morena” and “DX Samba” (in fact, for you Wheel of Fortune fans, five of the seven tracks all end in a vowel).

The liner notes briefly indicated that the album was recorded at Nos Nuvens sometime in 1986 in Rio.  The pace is very calm and laid-back.  It got me thinking that this album is one of a handful that almost gets you on the verge of feeling a bit sleepy (not that one doesn’t mind with all of the hectic things going in our world these days).

Nevertheless, it is available in physical CD online and should be accessible on most streaming media players.

Next week, I will dive head first into the albums that I was hoping to do late in April–but there is this complex thing called life that got in the way.

Look for a neat, tidy review featuring the “Sade of Brazil”, Ive Mendes sometime next week.

To all of the mothers, especially my mom who has given me lots of cool vocal support to this blog over the years along with devoted fan Fabiana Passoni, I wish both of them and others in Brazilian jazz circles a happy and fun Mother’s Day.

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