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Artists Worth Checking Out: Nestor Torres

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Image courtesy of allmusic.com

Born in Puerto Rico in 1957, Nestor Torres began learning the flute at the age of 12.  He and his family moved to New York in 1975 to take up jazz and classical music studies at the Mannes College of Music in New York, as well as the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

After moving again this time to Miami in 1981, he gained his first major success on the smooth jazz charts with No Me Provoques.  In 1990, he nearly lost his life when an accident during a celebrity boat race left him with eighteen fractured ribs, two broken clavicles and a collapsed lung.  As a result, the Polygram record company dropped him from his contract, he and his wife ended up getting a divorce, and his home was nearly repossessed.

Eleven albums and a greatest hits compilation later, you can find Nestor on the faculty at Florida International University as both a visiting guest artist and according to his Wikipedia page, he is also the founding director of their School of Music’s first ever charanga ensemble (a vintage Cuban dance dating back to the 1940’s).

This week’s review is one of his other popular albums released in 1990 titled, Dance of the Phoenix on the seldom heard SGI record label.  The album was recorded in Los Angeles, and it was very clear throughout each track that each note from the flute he performed throughout the 52 minute album is simply priceless.  Joining him was Ronnie Foster on the keyboard, Harvey Mason on drums, either Abraham Laboriel, or Nicky Orta on electric base, Manny Lopez on electric guitar, Brian Bromberg on acoustic bass, and Luis Conte on percussion.

From the title track (Track 7) to “Rondo Del Sur” (Track 4) and “The Feel” (Track 11), there is a consistent rhythm and beat that not only screams summer, but this album definitely will put your mind at ease.  This is an excellent album to kick off your heels or shoes, sip something cold (preferably with an aluminum can to help out the environment), and just sit back to watch the waves go by.

The best buzzwords I can give this album are calm, soothing, and very bubbly.  Also a nice album to put on while at work, since there are absolutely no vocals and when I played this album while typing this blog–this music is enjoyable enough to keep your mind fully concentrated on whatever task(s) you are attempting to accomplish.

Overall, this album is an excellent and worthy addition to your jazz collection.  The physical CD is available for purchase on Amazon, eBay, and Importcds.com.

Speaking of more sizzling albums for the summer, I am planning to do a two-fer next week with beach bunny Babado Novo–at least from initial judging of her summer attire on the covers of her prominent albums.

Please enjoy the rest of your weekend, and stay hydrated as much as you can.  I will be grabbing myself another glass of water in my continuing quest to quench my thirst.  See you again soon.

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Artist Worth Knowing About: Marina Lima Rocks On With Volume 38

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Image courtesy of allmusic.com

Originally released on March 17, 1998 under the Polygram do Brasil label, a majority of the songs done by Marina Lima immediately bring on a vibe famously used by Gloria Estefan and the Indigo Girls.

However, there was a pleasant trio of tracks that are of pure jazz in nature.  Track 3, “”Me Chama” (translated to one of Blondie’s famous songs from the early 1980’s, “Call Me”), Track 5 “Fullgas”, and Track 10 “Pseudo Blues.”

The 46 minute plus album closes out with a special appearance by Renato Rocketh on the track titled, “Uma Noite E 1/2” (or “One Night And A Half”).

Nice disk for summer.  Available for physical CD purchase at Amazon and other online sites.

Back next week with another album review.  Please enjoy your weekend.

 

Artist Worth Knowing About: Carl Henry Brueggen

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Image courtesy of last.fm

Not much biographical information about this particular artist is found online, but this 2002 work isn’t really much of an album in terms of content.

Rather, this is my shortest review in both of words typed and overall playing time, since it is an EP–just over 12 1/2 minutes to be precise.  Twelve individuals contributed with several instruments, while Nora O’Connor picked up with a steady, graceful beat on vocals–albeit she was only heard for a very short span of time.

Excellent selection for summer and picnic settings alike.  At first glance, you might be taken aback by the fact that the title track is on position 1, while “Man’s Favorite Sport” and “Rum Toddy” round out the disk.  The vibes are calm and very soothing, with a bit of music familiar to those attending Hawaiian luaus at sunset in the final seconds.

Available on digipak via Amazon and eBay, this EP is a definite keeper.

See you next week with another album review.

 

Artists Worth Knowing About: Gal Costa Flashback

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Image courtesy of blog.clickgratis.com.br

Translated meaning, “Watercolor of Brazil”–the original song was written by Ary Barroso in 1939 and is the last song in this memorable 48 minute album from 1980.

By this point in her career, she had composed a dozen albums through three different record labels:  Black Sun, Philips Records, and Polygram.

Besides the memorable lyrics,

“This coconut tree that gives coconuts,
Where I tie my hammock
In the bright moonlit nights.
Oh! These murmuring fountains,
Where I quench my thirst,
And where the moon comes to play.
Oh! This Brazil, beautiful and swarthy,
Is my Brazilian Brazil,
Land of samba and tambourine,
Brazil! Brazil!”

The other memorable songs on this classic album are featured on Track 8, “Inquietacao” (or “Restlessness)” and Track 10, “Faceira” (or “Cheeky”).  Those songs are among the nine consecutive slow paced songs.

The opening track and the last pair of songs are very fast paced.

Overall, it is an excellent album to have around in your CD or streaming library.

Next week, I will profile another album for your reading pleasure.

Please have an enjoyable weekend.

Concert Review: Another Hot Number From Ivete Sangalo Is Sure To Please

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DVD Image courtesy of colecaocompleta.blogspot.com

For those of us who enjoy everything that summer brings, this outdoor concert from 2016 is sure to please.

As most of you who follow my blogs, I have reviewed a few DVD concerts featuring Ivete Sangalo.  This effort is probably the best one that I have seen to date.

In the first minutes, the crowd is singing along in perfect harmony.  Even in the middle of the concert, she slows the tempo but not to a complete crawl.

Throughout the concert, certain color LED images kept changing patterns and lines.  At certain times, Ivete would be playing along with her heels–like drawing lines in the sand.

Speaking of the sand, just wait until you see the opening where she is all alone prancing around one of Rio’s very picturesque beaches.  I will leave at it that.

The best reason to look for this DVD is simple–Ivete exudes enthusiasm with boundless energy and a courageous spirit that very few artists in Brazil can match.

Ivete has it.  Even in one of the interspersed B&W moments where we see her and her three bandmates rehearsing a number filled with drums, she is quick to fill in a missing beat.  Not a problem.

With the concert starting at around sundown and ending under a picture perfect black sky at night, you cannot go wrong.

Another reason to look for this concert is what’s inside:

Besides the usual array of cute pictures and the brief listing of songs performed that dot the 12 pages, there is also a nice 21 1/2″ x 9″ poster featuring both of Ivete’s outfits that she wore during the performance:

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Image courtesy of caras.uol.com.br (above) and bcharts.net (below)

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Sprinkled on the poster and the booklet is this very nice quote, translated:

“I thank God for the good energy of this beautiful place, Trancoso.
To my fans and the music, who are always by my side.”

Overall, an excellent disk for summer.

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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Image courtesy of music-bazaar.com

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:

https://bigzbossanovabeat.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/torcuato-mariano-provides-calm-music-for-all-who-wish-to-listen/

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.”