Archive | Brazil jazz RSS for this section

Artist Worth Checking Out: Two-fer with the Sade of Brazilian Jazz, Ive Mendes


Images courtesy of (above) and (below)


Born in Ceres, Brazil, Ive Mendes spent her childhood years on her parent’s farm.  She spent seven years teaching creative art and music before deciding to give it up and move on to creating music.

Ive would relocate to England in 1999, this before having suffered tragic losses with the loss of her older brother when he was kidnapped in Brazil along with a great musical friend Mark Smith two months after her first solo effort garnered double Platinum status when sales started in Poland of all places.

When you hear her sing one of Chicago’s big hits, “If You Leave Me Now”, you will probably hear a small bit of the familiar voice of Fabiana Passoni sprinkled in.  Again, this is just an observation I gained after listening to the album for the first time.

The dual CD came out eleven years later in 2010.  The true romantic vibes and references to Sade and Bebel Gilberto definitely rang true with songs ranging from, “Yellow”, “Letting You Go”, “I Don’t Wanna Know”, and “The Life That I Have” on the first disk.  The second disk continues the true laid-back themes with songs like “Estrada”, “Never Felt Love Like This”, “Beauty of the Blues” and “Around The Sun.”

These three disks are also nice background music if your lover wishes to stick around after serving dinner and dessert.  I found that every song is a very cool and easy listen.  Both of her albums should be also available for streaming over your favorite mobile device.

Later this week, I plan to profile an artist that I first heard about in December 2016 but did not get around to it in time due to the Christmas holiday period.  Look for a review on Gregg Karukas sometime later this week.

Hope to see you then.


Master Composers: Rique Pantoja Teaming Up With Ernie Watts


Image courtesy of

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 have a happy and fun Mother’s Day.

Artist Worth Checking Out: Cris Braun


Main part of album cover image courtesy of

Recorded between August 2003 and June 2004, the second release of Atemporal by Rio born Cris Braun is a nice weekend album to kick back and relax–or in the case of preparing for any holiday party, something to unwind to after a lot of cooking and cleaning.  According to the site, Braun moved to Maceió in the 1970’s where she learned to play the guitar and gained the chance to have singing lessons.  She began performing in shows in 1985, such as in Rio’s Mistura Fina nightclub after spending many years practicing keyboarding, percussion, and other composition techniques.  Her first album, Cuidado Com Pessoas Como Eu was released in 1997.

My album pick of the week was released in 2005.  Clocking in at nearly 35 minutes in length, this is a nicely packed treat with many laid-back and calm songs.  From the opening track, “Entre O Ceu E A Terra” (translated meaning, “Between Heaven and Earth” to the stylish middle Track 5, “Tudo Pode” (or “Everyone Can”)–there is something nice for everyone.

There is also one song in English, Track 8 with the slow, “Drum and Bass Is Past.”

Overall, this is an excellent album worth checking out.  Available on Amazon and for streaming on most online streaming media players.

Next week, I will dive into the works of a woman known by many in the media on both sides of the Equator as simply, “The Brazilian Sade.”

Speaking of which, if you are interested in looking back at a Brazilian jazz artist such as Gervaso Silva doing a cool take on many of Sade’s classic 1980’s hits such as one of my all-time favorite jazz songs in “Smooth Operator”, along with “Kiss of Life”, and “Hang On To Your Love”, simply tap or click on the link to my blog post from February 2016 below:

Please have a safe and happy Easter holiday weekend.

Saluting the 2017 Marco Loucura Brazilian Fun Jazz Champion, Michael Franks


Image courtesy of

By the fall of 1983, Michael Franks had burst off the charts both in jazz and in pop rock.  This was his seventh studio album, produced by Warner Brothers.

Many of the songs are great to relax to, or have as background music if you are either entertaining friends or baking.

Among the most recognizable hits include the opening track, “Alone At Night”, the Atari and arcade game funny tune paying homage to Space Invaders and Donkey Kong with, “Now That Your Joystick’s Broke”, and the hit single, “Tell Me All About It” on Track 8.

Clocking in at just under 45 minutes, it is a very cool listen.  And just like when North Carolina made the big plays late on Monday night against Gonzaga, Michael Franks is definitely a deserving virtual Brazilian Fun Jazz Champion for 2017.

Back to my regular blogs later in the week.

(Sorry, no extra photos.)




Final Two set for 2017 Marco Loucura Title

Just like at the NCAA Final Four, some weird and wacky finishes but the two remaining Number 1 seeds from the Halie Loren and Oscar Castro-Neves Regional emerged unscathed and here they are in the 2017 virtual title game on Monday night.

It will be:

Bianca Rossini



Both images courtesy of

vs. Michael Franks


Images courtesy of Apple Music (above) and (below)


We will find out on Tuesday who won.  See you all then.

Masters: Lee Ritenour And His All-Star Group of Musicians Provided Great Songs To Enjoy


Image courtesy of

Born as Lee Mack Ritenour on January 11, 1952 in Los Angeles, this smooth jazz artist has had quite a career spanning nearly five decades.

He got his start with the legendary folk group the Mamas and the Papas in 1968.  In the late 1970’s, his mastery of using the guitar was incorporated many funk elements which were huge at the time in his first three solo albums.

Throughout the 1980’s and into the 1990’s, he helped form the group Fourplay and would team up with legendary artists on both sides of the Equator–with the likes of Djavan, Kenny G, and Ivan Lins sharing time on stage with Ritenour.

My album Pick of the Week is from 2005 on the GRP label.  Many recognizable songs which found their way onto smooth jazz radio were aplenty:

Track 4, “Dindi” has excellent vocals by DeBarge (yes, the same DeBarge who rose up the pop rock charts in the 1980’s with his hit single, “Rhythm of the Night’), Track 7 of “Harlequin” has steady rhythms and Track 9 also has a laid-back vibe on “Asa”.

Scott Adams from the “Sounds of Brazil” podcast fame mentioned in the liner notes,

“Lee’s passion and foresight succeeded in raising the bar for Brazil’s best, with brilliantly conceived arrangements and talented musicianship–and each Brazilian singer in turn responded to the invitation with his own definitive performance.”

Most of the songs were culled from prior albums originally produced in 1984, 1987 through 1989, and 1996.  Other key performers worth noting in this album include Caetono Veloso (Track 3, “Linda), Herbie Hancock on piano (Track 5, “Stone Flower”), Kevyn Lettau (Track 10, “Windmill”), and Gonzaguinha along with Kate Markowitz on the final track (“E”, or “Yeah!”).

This is another excellent album worth playing for friends or just relaxing at the beach.

See you all again next month with another cool album review–and hopefully, I will try to get some more Q&A’s involving a pair of really awesome jazz artists that are using some timeless Brazilian jazz classics in their current schedule of playing gigs.


Masters: Eliane Elias Comes Through Again With “Dance of Time”


Image courtesy of

This past Friday, Eliane Elias released a new album.

In a few words, this album is simply breathtaking.

For a few of the tracks, try to think along the lines of the famed Irish band from 2000, The Coors meeting Gloria Estefan from her Miami Sound Machine during the late 1980’s and this is what you get.

From the opening track of “O Pato” and the second track being the all English jazz song, “You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me”–this is truly one party album you do not want to miss.

Good thing in my case, it is available for streaming online.

Other cool songs to savor include “Sambou Sambou” (Track 6) and “Little Paradise” on Track 7.

There are 12 total tracks totaling over 45 minutes of fun and cool jazz.  After hearing this album over the weekend, Eliane Elias is definitely looking to overtake longtime MPB favorite Marisa Monte as queen of the Brazilian jazz charts.  Five stars all the way, and hopefully sometime before the year is out–I hope to receive a physical CD of this fine album.

Later on this week, please look for my review of Lee Ritenour to close out the always crazy month of March.  Have a great rest of the day.