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Add Bob Baldwin to your Christmas Party Playlist

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Image courtesy of oldies.com

Released today (Friday, December 16) just in time for that final holiday rush–pop this album on your Spotify or Apple Music playlist.  This group of ten classic holiday favorites has a nice steady and cool mix to it, which makes this a great album for parties.

Among the highlights, a steady and very bubbly beat on the opening carol of “This Christmas.”  A very slow, mellow version of the famous Vince Guaraldi hit, “Christmastime is Here” leads to more slow carols wrapping up with his unique version of “December 25th.”

Enjoy your weekend and please look for a short DVD review of the rock hits played by Beatles Bossa Nova Queen if there ever was one in Rita Lee sometime early next week.

Take care and please continue to stay warm for the more than 80 million Americans getting stuck in a true Winter Blunderland.

 

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Final Christmas album review with Bossa Nova Nouveau

The 2010 release features 14 timeless holiday classic carols

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Image courtesy of freecodesource.com

For the final CD review of 2015, here is a nice last minute album that you can play online with your Spotify player or similar online music player.

Sadly, I could not find any biographical information about the players that made up the group Bossa Nova Nouveau.

But from the very first minute of “O Christmas Tree” to the rather fast scat versions of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” and “Jingle Bells”, to the very slow version of “The Christmas Song” (“Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire”), this is an excellent disk to play during your holiday party.

It is just the right mix of guitars and percussion, but the only notes given on the back of the CD (of which you can find only on Amazon) was that it was recorded at Moon Cycle Studios in Massanutten, VA under the Nova Nouveau Records label.

This group also did similar regular bossa nova albums as well during this same time period.

Next album review will be sometime during the first full week of 2016, as I dive into some more classic bossa nova with another famous female artist that was taken away from us way too soon in Nara Leao.

But I have two more posts before Santa Claus makes his triumphant return to good little boys and girls fireplaces–and this next blog is a timely Olympic Update, as the Brazilian volleyball teams were chosen recently.  By contrast, Team USA will not determine their representatives for the beach and the traditional 6-on-6 indoor variety sometime in June 2016.

As for the second blog post, you will just have to wait until sometime on Christmas Eve…it’s too special to mention in such a small space.  Have a good night, everybody!

Jack Jezzro and Friends bring cool vibes on Bossa Nova Christmas

 

 

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Image courtesy of www16.plala.or.jp

Born as Jacob Paul “Jack” Jezioro on December 2, 1957 in West Virginia, this popular songwriter and producer has recordings that have numbered into the millions.

As a young boy, his first musical loves were with the accordion and piano.  Eventually, he took on playing the guitar learning songs from the likes of Chet Atkins, James Taylor, along with The Doobie Brothers.

In the mid 1970’s, he went to nearby Morgantown and graduated from West Virginia University.  By 1981, he successfully completed a degree at the famous Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
Ten years performing in Nashville followed before embarking on his solo career.

According to the Wiki entry on the Last.fm website, Jezzro has been credited to over 200 albums and also having some his music featured on United and Delta Airlines flights.

For this final weekend entry before Christmas, he brought along some friends to do bubbly and airy versions of our favorite holiday tunes in a 2009 compilation album from Green Hill Productions.

Denis Solee does a lot of percussion on “My Favorite Things” (Track 5), while Lori Mechem brings her piano to the fore on “White Christmas” (Track 8), of which you can learn more about her two Brazilian jazz entries in past posts in my blog.

Bergie Adair goes Michael Franks on 17 RPM with the Vince Guaraldi Trio classic from A Charlie Brown Christmas with “Christmastime Is Here”, and Jack himself closes out the album with his sixth entry out of 14 tracks getting all giddy about “Frosty The Snowman.”

Sadly, it appears there won’t be any of the white stuff flying around on the interstates and back roads this upcoming holiday season.  That is, unless my fellow MPB’s like California’s own Fabiana Passoni and Bianca Rossini decide to buy a bunch of oversized cotton balls and decorate their backyard with snow that would never melt.

But fear not, my fellow fans of this blog.  I know you have been all good little virtual online guys and gals, so you will get to read one more holiday blog before something very important, very special will be tucked safely inside your inbox as we await Santa’s arrival late on Christmas Eve.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Artist Worth Checking Out: Vinnie Zummo doubles up on the holiday fun

Images courtesy of electro.ws and coverlib.com

Born sometime in the mid 1970’s, Vinnie Zummo calls New York City home these days.  Not much information can be found about his past work, but the longtime guitarist has managed to add the titles of producer, writer, arranger, sound designer, accordion, & chromatic harmonica to his resume.

From the very first note on “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” to his own version of “Groovy Snow” on Track 10, the 2001 album is something to behold.

Eleven years later in 2012, he came back and did another holiday compilation album.  This time around, he covered traditional carols such as “We Three Kings” (Track 1) and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” (Track 5).

His wife Janice blends in her own sweet vocals on “White Christmas” (Track 2) and a very upbeat song on Track 8 called, “You’re The Greatest Gift For Me”.  Nice romantic track which includes former longtime Chicago White Sox organist extraordinaire Nancy Faust’s famous tagline of “Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na” mixed in for good measure.

But before I sing, “Hey Hey Good Bye” for the time being…other carols worth exploring on this second album include Track 9, “Joy To The World” and “Christmas Rendevous” (Track 11).

These are excellent albums to have on during your holiday dinners, just bubbly versions without too many vocals.  Janice however does get the last word (and plenty of jingle bells in the background) on “Christmas Groove”.  I will let you interpret that song if you want, but my next blog post will be on another cool holiday soundtrack done by Jack Jezzro and Friends–so look for that either on Thursday or Friday.

 

Artist Worth Checking Out: Lisa Ono Says Feliz Natal

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Image courtesy of music-cool.tw

Born July 29, 1962 in Sao Paolo, Lisa Ono splits her time between Brazil and her family’s homeland in Japan.

By the time she turned 15, she began to learn to play the guitar.  Nearly a dozen albums later (with Dream and Pretty World being the big sellers), my first entry of the Brazilian Christmas CD selections is a spiffy pop entry, especially getting to hear and read the Japanese lyrics.

Albeit it took me two years and half a world to find my copy (some bookstore in Germany fortunately had a copy back in June 2015 at a reasonable price), please don’t be taken aback by her English singing.  I found that each song she sings features very light tones throughout the acoustic guitars on each carol.  It is quite the opposite with the more dramatic orchestral effects heard on the wildly popular Amy Grant album Home For Christmas which was released the year before Boas Festas.

From “Winter Wonderland” to “Let It Snow”, “Jingle Bell Rock” and “Paz Azul” (which almost sounds lyrically like the lullaby song moms sing to their kids before tucking them to bed each night), this album labelled as a Winter Bossa album definitely ranks right up there with Halie Loren’s cool album, Lori Meachem’s near duplication of the Vince Guaraldi Trio’s  A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack and the Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 number on “The Christmas Song”.

The album is very pleasant and an excellent listen, definitely feels like a nice album to unwind to after a long day of baking your favorite holiday treats.  This album is also definite holiday party material if the crowd does not feel like really going all out and just letting things stay chilled through the night.

And yes, she has continued to do more Brazilian albums even while raising two children of her own.  Wikipedia has her credited with doing 22 albums to date, the last one during the first full year after the financial recession in 2009 featuring  jazz standards from both Rio and Los Angeles.

Next week, you will get to read a two-fer from the same artist.  Vinnie Zummo did his holiday compilations over a decade apart.  I will note the key similarities and differences from each album once I get a bit of time separate from the hectic times currently taking place with my other blog in covering NCAA men’s college basketball.
Enjoy your weekend, and please try to pick up a copy online of this holiday album when you get the chance.

Monthly Compilation Pick: Time To Chill with Chill: Brazil

And I mean that literally.

At the time this blog was typed, my hometown area went from a Friday high of a sticky 82 down to an autumn-like 55 with brisk north winds making it feel even colder.

Perhaps, the people from Warner Music International back when this compilation album was released in 2002 might have had these songs in mind as a great frame of reference.

Image courtesy of my own personal collection

Image courtesy of my own personal collection

This was actually the second volume of 5 in the series.

The original covered 34 wide ranging tracks.

The album that I am profiling features 36 songs that you can really groove to.

On Disk One, there is the likes of Azymuth, Bebel Gilberto, Paula Toller, and Ed Motta.

On the second disk, there are some instantly recognizable songs from Tom Jobim leading off with “Gatora de Ipanema” (“The Girl from Ipanema”), Joao Gilberto’s famous “Tim Tim Por Tim Tim” and Bebel’s early hit “Tanto Tempo”.

The late Milton Nascimento is also featured with the likes of Kid Abelha, Hermeto Pascoal, and Os Cariocas.

Nice compilation to enjoy while you are either working around the house or cooking up something new and exciting from your many shelves of cookbooks (or popping up that next cool classic recipe from the Food Network website).

June promises to be just as sizzling, as I will have reviews from the likes of early 1990’s artist Velas, Claudio Zoli, Marcio Faraco, and hopefully a two-fer from Maria Bethania.

And I will hope to close out the month before the fireworks began in earnest around the United States in advance of the Independence Day holiday weekend (which will actually start a day early on Friday, July 3) with another neat compilation pick.

And yes, there will be one huge Olympic update to look forward to come Father’s Day weekend as far as actual competition is concerned:

NBC is making a return to the sport where they once gained a big cult following during the 1990’s as the AVP (Association of Volleyball Professionals) pro beach volleyball tour makes a FIVB Rio Olympics qualifying stop in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Once that match gets closer, I will provide you with the key times on when to watch the matches and a link to learn more about each of the players vying for future Olympic glory.

With the 2012 retirement of popular American women’s star Misty May-Treanor, it is up to the likes of Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross to keep the gold firmly in American hands.  Similar case on the men’s side of the ledger with popular star player Phil Dauser once again leading the charge in this being a truncated 2015 AVP season.

But as is often the case, Brazil’s players on both the men’s and women’s sides should be forces to reckon with.  Just ask any fan of North Carolina and Duke basketball, and they will tell you that it is not wise to wake up the sleeping giants.

Please enjoy the rest of your weekend.

I wish to give a small shout-out to those new fans who recently signed up for this blog (including Jessy J, one of my all-time favorite jazz artists)–thank you and please look around at my many posts.

I look forward to reading each and every one of your comments.

Very cool and soothing holiday beats when the playlist shows Art Four Sale

Image courtesy of cdbaby.com

Image courtesy of cdbaby.com

Evoking memories of 1990’s smooth jazz artists ranging from Urban Knights to David Sanborn, Richard Elliot, and a little bit of Steve Cole–this quartet has all of the smooth sounds of jazz guitar down pat.  And yes, figuring Christmas 2014 is on the fourth day of the workweek during the fourth week of the month made this an easy choice during the most hectic time of the year.

According to Richard Jackson’s review on the group’s website this 2013 holiday album is one where, “most want to find the one that speaks their groove language the most. Four the Holidays could very well be one such recording.”

The group features Paul Buono (guitars and vocals), Dougie Keebler (bass), Guy Lemon (keyboards, percussion, drums), and Ryan Pruitt (drums and percussion).  The album features many soothing renditions of “Feliz Navidad” (Track 1), “Winter Wonderland” (Track 4), and an original arrangement by Paul Bunon lending his guitar with sweet vocals done by Pricilla Coffey on “Merry Merry Christmas” (Track 3).  A really different, near funkier version of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” appears on Track 11, a more up-tempo, bopping version of “O Come All Ye faithful” (Track 9, normally a much slower tempo type of carol) and a much jazzed-up final track of, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

Great songs to play while serving appetizers or having that holiday ham by your shoulders.  And for the ladies reading, a neat pic of all four guys is on the back of the cardboard.

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What a fun year this was for me in this blog.  Between the many cool reviews and doubling my number for fans following me including the very kind Sherie Julianne, I couldn’t have asked for much more.

Yes, I did promise really big things entering 2014 but it has been very slow in materializing.  The good news is though, Santa is leaving me more than just my typical free Brazil jazz compilation CD outside my short front porch.

At least, I will have another interview (my first done entirely done by email in Portuguese) sometime in January with the lead vocalist on the recently released Talisman album, one time farm girl and rising star in the making in Glaucia Nasser.

Three of my other favorite artists are planning either full-length albums or EP’s of newer material at some point in 2015.  They include, but not limited to:

  • Patricia Talem, after taking most of 2014 off, to both unwind and do other creative works behind the scenes
  • Monica da Silva, I wonder what will be her follow up cover to her first album–a shot wearing a Dolly Parton hat and cute cowboy boots while pretending to hail a cab outside of the Las Vegas Strip?
  • Fabiana Passoni, all the while inbetween raising her three children and keeping her body in tip top shape with more than just those grueling spinning classes.

As I have done in my first few years, anytime a new album/EP arrives in my mailbox–it will get reviewed almost immediately.

I am also planning to end each month reviewing the many dozens of cool compilations.  Plus, if there any other cool Brazilian movies with English subtitles–I will be happy to take any suggestions from you anytime.

What else to expect for 2015?  I will also take some time on a few random weekdays and Sundays to review some really special concerts involving the likes of Ivete Sangalo (look for one neat review the week of Valentine’s Day), Marina Elali, Bebel Gilberto returning to her roots in Rio, and Gal Costa that are already out on DVD.  Album covers will be provided for each blog entry for easy reference.

And yes, there will be some periodic news about any major progress with the venues that is taking place in and around Rio as they frantically prepare to welcome the world’s greatest athletes before the first ever Summer Olympics to take place on the continent of South America in late July 2016.

Unlike this past summer’s World Cup, when I decided to keep the blog dark and not do any posts–there will be pretty big plans which I hope to have the time to talk about in bits and pieces as we get closer to Rio’s watershed moment.

Feliz Natal, Feliz Ano Novo…

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year to one and all.

May 2015 bring you every joy and success.

See you the first full week of January as I go back to basics.  There will be a concise review of a triple CD featuring over four dozen great songs in that timeless style simply known as bossa nova.

Season’s Greetings.