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Master Composers: Quarteto Em Cy


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A really nice album for a typical workday, along with the MPB Em Cy work…my Album Picks of the Week…this Brazilian girl group got their names in a very interesting way.

According to their Wikipedia page, they hail from the northeast region of Brazil in a town named Ibiraataia.  Their real names are Cybele, Cylene, Cynara, and Cyva.


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The group started performing in 1959, and according to the Cherry Red Records liner notes in the album I highlighted above–Christopher Evans mentioned about the group producing a whopping seven albums in a three year period.  They would take their act to the United States by the mid 1960’s by appearing on The Andy Williams Show and also with Joey Bishop.

Appearing on the legendary Forma and Elenco labels, their Som Definitivo album with Tamba Trio from 1966 represents the true heights of their work.

The “very intricate rhythms” featuring various progressions of the chords and the intricate rhythms of the group’s voices are also being used today by indie alternatives such as Stereolab and Belle & Sebastian to a certain degree.

The songs present an almost hushed tone, great music for any workplace.  Pace wise, some songs are fast and many of them are good natured, slow tempos–but not at a snail’s pace.

Eventually, the group gained even bigger popularity in Japan where three of the four sisters continue have been touring regularly since 1980.  Sadly, Cybele died on August 21, 2014 at at the age of 74 while having a lung ischemia at her Rio home.

Both albums are available for physical CD purchase on both eBay and Amazon.  Streaming media should have both albums available as well.  I give both albums very high ratings.

Next week, we are back to cover the guys for a change as I will highlight briefly the interesting career of Jorge Ben followed by someone in the current jazz genre making graceful waves out in Los Angeles.

Thank you again for continuing to read and follow my blogs.  Comments are always welcome anytime.  Please try to enjoy the rest of your day and try to stay warm, especially to anyone reading in the Deep South.





Artists Worth Checking Out: Soulstance Turns Up The Relaxation Factor


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The Italian duo of Enzo and Gianni Lo Greco featured many pulsating rhythms perfect for any Friday or Saturday night.  With sultry tracks from “The Aftermath of Love” and “Kickin’ Samba”, and even the title track (Track 9), you cannot go wrong with this 2000 release.

Each track averages close to five minutes, perfect background music or if you feel like just lounging around.

And with the onset of winter’s chill taking a firm grip on the northern half of the United States, I thought of a few more albums to turn up the heat factor before the annual hectic period of what I usually call Thanksgiving as the “gobble gobble crunch crunch” type of holiday.

Next week, look for a short review on Fernanda Abreu’s memorable Sony Music offering Amor Geral and just before the Turkey break takes hold–I will provide a review of the 1999 Paulinho Nogueira work on Reflexoes, or “Reflections.”

In the meantime, lots of news (most of it was simply shocking and horrible) affected the world in my other blog on men’s college basketball.  Even after all of the murky details that was brought to the surface from late September on and affecting a prominent school with three players being caught in China in recent days, there is still going to be a season.

And yes, hopefully come March 12 or 13, I hope to proudly bring back my annual tradition strictly for virtual bragging rights–when the fifth Annual Marco Loucura Tournament returns.  At least, the names of the regions should remain the same:  Antonio Carlos Jobim takes care of the East, while the proud and always “cool cat” that is Halie Loren has a firm hold out West, the Midwest stays with the cool precision of the great Milton Nascimento, while the South carries on by the late and truly awesome Oscar Castro-Neves.

All of that and most things important to know can be found by tapping or clicking on this link below:

Please enjoy your weekend, and thank a veteran when you get the chance.

Artists Worth Checking Out: DeNovo Kept Things On The Relaxing Side


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In honor of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team reaching their first World Series since 1988, I thought it was a nice idea to go a bit further down Memory Lane to 1986.

That was the year when Nippon Columbia Records of Japan issued this really cool gem of an album from DeNovo.  Albeit the cover to L.A. Transit shows off a typical row of suburban housing, it is not at all mundane or boring.

This disk is very refreshing, whether you are driving down one of the main streets in and around Los Angeles–or maybe on a nice summer’s day, you have this on your Spotify or Apple Music playlist.  Featuring bubbly covers of “Mas Que Nada”, Antonio Carlos’ Jobim’s “Wave”, “Aqua De Beber”, and Sergio Mendes hit “Pretty World”.

Contributing on the album were Tom Scott (alto sax and regular sax), the late great Oscar Castro-Neves (mainly on acoustic guitar), Paul Jackson, Jr. (electric guitar), and Yutaka Yokokura (keyboards).

A majority of the vocals were beautifully done by Carol Rodgers, Kata Yanai Markowitz, and Gracinha Leporace.  The album does not feel rushed, but similar to more than a handful of my past reviews–each song sounds very loose and carefree.  This is also a great weekend album, where you can simply kick off your shoes or heels and just unwind.

One thing you will notice immediately upon opening up the booklet, about 60 percent of it was written in Japanese.  Lucky for us, the May 1986 notes penned by Japanese music critic Michiko Suzuki provide enough of a glimpse as a worthy addition to any jazz fan’s library:

“It is a well done album with Bossa Nova classic numbers and some original tunes.  It’s the real thing, yet is very LA-ish in that the tunes are fun and relaxing…All song(s) are quite marvelously done.”

Next week, I hope to return with another cool Brazilian jazz album review.

Enjoy your Halloween, and remember–everything in moderation.  If you still have some candy left over, give some to any friend or co-worker that might enjoy it.



Time to Take A 1980’s Bossa Break

Several early MTV rock hits, along with a small sprinkling of smooth jazz hits were given the bossa nova tribute.

This 2008 compilation album from Albatraz Music titled simply, “Bossa Project Lounge” (no artist information mentioned in the liner notes) is simply perfect music if you are waiting to go to the dentist or doing simple things around the home.  The rock numbers of Tears for Fears and Pet Shop Boys are stripped down to the basics.  Even The Pretenders famous 1986 hit single, “Don’t Get Me Wrong” replaces the familiar drum beats with piano bars instead.

Bananarama’s hit remake of “Venus” is one of the few interesting songs, along with Stevie Wonder’s classic jazz tune of “Overjoyed”.  But the final track left me slightly disappointed.  The Police’s 1983 hit, “Every Breath You Take” was a guitar man’s dream.  This song pretty much made me think of going to sleep, or at least–take a nice, long winter nap.

It is an average album at best, but at least the effort in not messing up on the original lyrics was nice.  Similar to the Cecilia Dale blog, this album can be found on Amazon.

Next week, I will bring back a feature where I profile multiple albums from the same artist.  This gentleman started out during the 1980’s and rose his way up the smooth jazz charts in the United States and also made a nice name for himself in Brazil.

His name is Leo Gandelman, and I will be profiling a trio of his key works devoted to Brazilian jazz over the next three weeks.  First up is the 1990 effort of Solar.

Hope to see you all then.  Take care, everybody.


Fun and Flirty Album just in time for Valentine’s Day

Album pick of the week features Slowdown and their 2009 Retrospectives album


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Hello there, all of you cool cats and welcome to my special Valentine’s Day album review of the memorable 2009 NuGroove Music entry featuring a special mix of electronic lounge music all done with a Brazilian flair.

Not much biographical information is available about this group online.  However, when I first heard a sampling of the horns on the opening track of “Motif d’Azur” a few years back, I instantly fell in love with the rhythms and the beats.  Feels very playful and in my mind could light up a spark just in time for cooking that favorite meal in front of your lover/significant other.

The other key tracks to have on repeat while possibly thinking about cuddling next to your lover include Tracks 2 “Dreamaway” and Track 5 with “Sonho Do Brasil” with the rather seductive vocals done so well by Sabine Galuschka (the last track has the accompaniment of Gero Klevenow on trombone.

Want another track to get those hearts pumping?  I invite you to check out Track 6, a little over six minutes of pure bliss with “Samba_00”, vocals done masterfully by Anke-Christin Wagner and Volker Kriegsmann playing the oboe.

The other tracks take on a methodical, slow, and very laid-back groove.  Again, this is not just a really nice album because it is Valentine’s Day, but for any day for any guy that is eager enough who wishes to get romantic with that dream woman or vice versa.

However you spend your Valentine’s night, please make it fun and cute.

See you all back next week with a nice album review highlighting the work done by Cecilia Dale.  Please take care, everybody.

Artists Worth Knowing About: Salena Jones Teamed Up Nicely with the Jobims


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Born as Joan Elizabeth Shaw, there is some ambiguity about her actual year of birth.  She was born on January 29, either in 1930 or 1944.

This longtime veteran jazz and cabaret singer started her career in the United States following World War II.  She moved to England in the early 1960’s and the name Salena Jones came into being.

Salena has recorded over 40 albums (mostly dealing with standards from classic jazz and Hollywood) and has sold over 500,000 albums across the world.  My album pick of the week is from 1994 which was produced in Rio just eight months prior to Antonio Carlos Jobim’s passing that December.

Originally licensed from Japanese Victor by Vine Gate Music of the United Kingdom, Salena sings in very mellow and relaxed tones many of Jobim’s hit songs.  Son Paulo did some vocals , along with performing on the flute and guitar, while grandson Daniel Cannetti Jobim did the piano.  Antonio performs two duets and Kenny Burrell is featured on one of the tracks.

The album lasts just over an hour and is a very nice accompaniment for chilling and romantic vibes.  Many of Jobim’s classic hits are here, including “Antonio’s Song”, “The Girl/Boy From Ipanema”, and “One Note Samba.”

The liner notes from Paulo Thynnexy paint a nice picture of Salena’s career which blossomed in Japan starting in 1978 and has taken her to the many corners of the globe.  Overall, this album gets some high marks as a true Brazilian jazz classic as three generations of Jobim’s performed together for the first, last, and only time.

Speaking of romance, just in time for Valentine’s Day–I will be profiling the jazz grooves from Slowdown and their memorable Retrospectives album.  However, it is time to get back to the present day as my next album will feature a woman simply known as Ceu.  It just might join Les Hommes’ The Mood is Modal as part of your ultimate Spring Break playlist.

In the meantime, please enjoy the rest of your day and I will see you again with my next blog soon.


Artists Worth Checking Out: Bob Baldwin brought last minute joy during 2016


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Bob Baldwin continues to produce more quality music.

In the final weeks leading up to Christmas 2016, he did one album each on both continents.

Disk one was recorded in Rio, aka “Movement I”:

Lots of fusion and funky grooves dominate this disk, with Cafe da Silva contributing with “Ipanema Fusion” on Track 2.  Other notable tracks include the steady Torcuato Mariano on Tracks 4 and 5, and Gigi helping out on vocals with “Lookin’ At Me” on Track 8.  The popular “Love Dance” gets a nice medley paired with “May I Have This Dance?” on Track 13, while the steady smooth jazz number “Children of The Sun” closes out the Brazilian portion.

Disk two was recorded in New York City, aka “Movement II”:

A very upbeat song as if David Benoit was behind the piano leads off with “Home From Work”.  Porter Carroll II did a nice romantic ballad called “For You” on Track 4, while “Summer Madness” on Track 5 might remind some people when smooth jazz was on terrestrial radio doing its’ own thing 24 hours a day, long before streaming media became the norm for discovering new jazz talent.

Finally, a couple of the songs were dedicated to the late, great Maurice White–a jazz talent gone too soon.

But the real reason I got this CD in time for Christmas was inside:

There is a spectacular image of Copacabana Beach, minus the Olympics setup in the foreground.  I bet that any photographer trying to get the proper poster shot around Lake Shore Drive in Chicago may not accomplish similar results.

The Manhattan skyline dominates the back of the liner notes and the opening flap.  Also inside are some cool words of gratitude and a small prayer.

Overall, this is an excellent album for getting things done inside the house and garage on any weekend afternoon.  Great variety of slow and medium paced songs, but in no way this double album feels rushed–just a good variety of songs to get you through the day.

Next week, I hope to bring you one or two more cool album reviews.

Please try to enjoy the rest of your weekend.