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Artists Worth Checking Out: Danni Carlos

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Image courtesy of pricefalls.com

Born July 2, 1975 in Rio–Danni Carlos has made quite a career out of mixing up popular rock and pop tunes from the latter part of the 20th century into the very cool and suave bossa beat that Brazilian music fans come to know and expect.

Besides appearing in some movies and acting on television, her peak period of albums came 2003 and 2006.  I was fortunate enough to spend a decent chunk of June playing these popular songs, and these were my top five choices:

5. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, Volume 1 and on the “Ao Vivo” disk.

Made popular by U2 in 1987.

4. It Must Have Been Love, Volume 2.

Made popular by Wilson Phillips in 1991.

3. Freedom, Volume 3.

Made popular by George Michael in 1990.

2. Like A Prayer, Volume 2.

Made popular by Madonna in 1990.

  1. Back On The Chain Gang, Volume 2.

Made popular by The Pretenders in 1984.

SPECIAL NOTE:  With the United States in holiday mode with the upcoming Independence Day holiday on Wednesday, I wish to take this opportunity to wish all of my favorite MPB’s and fans a very Happy and safe Fourth of July.  I will be back again the week of July 8 with another cool blog for your reading pleasure.

And let us send our continued best wishes for Halie Loren, who is wrapping up her American tour in the same city where Danica Patrick recently called it a career in auto racing after over 13 memorable years in Indianapolis.  Halie will then headline a huge four night stop in Tokyo, Japan before making single stops later this month in Seoul, Korea; Paris, and finally, London before coming home.

And yes, I would be remiss but to wish the Brazil National Soccer (Futbol) Team boa sorte/good luck in their Knockout (Sweet 16) Round World Cup match against powerful Mexico on Monday in Russia.  If I had to compare it to an NCAA Tournament dream bracket, it would be like when Indiana beat North Carolina in 1984 ending the college career of one Michael Jordan.  Or in 2002, when the Hoosiers entered that stage in Lexington, Kentucky as the 5 seed against the South Region’s top seed in Duke and Indiana beat the Blue Devils rather soundly.
With longtime nemesis Argentina bounced from the tournament on Saturday, a statement I commonly mention a lot in March in my other blog definitely applies here–Expect the Unexpected.

Will Brazil’s key stars find the back of the net?  Stick around to Fox or Telemundo and find out for yourselves.  Enjoy the match, everybody.

 

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Artists Worth Checking Out: Paulinho Garcia

Just in time for Brazilian Valentine’s Day, this album has all things Love on every song

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Image courtesy of lance-bebopspokenhere.blogspot.com

Paulinho Garcia was born in Belo Horizonte, a city located in Mina Gerais, Brazil.

After dabbling with playing the drums and for a while the bass in his teenage years, he gravitated towards playing the guitar.

By the time he moved to Chicago in 1979, where he became a mainstay for the group Made in Brazil.  When the Chicago Bulls won the first of their six NBA titles in 1991, Garcia started his own band Jazzminiero.

He has been saluted in many jazz publications from Jazziz Magazine to Neil Tesser, author of The Playboy Guide To Jazz–along with many popular newspapers worldwide.  Outside of spending a year (2009-2010) teaching in Russia at the Moscow College of Improvised Music, he continues to teach Brazilian vocals and guitar at the famous Old Town School of Folk Music located on Chicago’s North Side.

Just one look on his website and one click on the often perplexing, yet universal question:  What is Love?  He offers an interesting take on the subject:

“What I think about love is what I think about life.  (It) can be a bad thing, a hard thing, or a very nice thing.  This is just how I approached my life.  When I had obstacles, I accepted it as it comes.  The album is assessing love as it is.”

One listen to the two Portuguese singing tracks, or any of his covers to popular romantic tunes to “When I Fall In Love”, “If You Could See Me Now”, and “That Old Feeling”…get ready to have the time of your life.

Overall, it is one excellent album–right up there with Soulstance, or any of the romantic themed albums done by Diana Krall, Halie Loren, Luciana Souza, or Fabiana Passoni.  It definitely strikes the right, yet delicate balance great for feeling romantic or simply wanting to fall in love.

Each song flows beautifully, and the songs never make the listener feel rushed.  Perfect for a nice, candlelight dinner.  And to those of you reading this blog in Brazil, my hope and wish is that you have a very Happy Brazilian Valentine’s Day.  Just don’t overindulge on the chocolate, unlike some people I know do it every year in February-hehehehe;).

I will be back with another cool album review, hopefully later in the week.

 

 

 

Artists Worth Checking Out: Ulisses Rocha

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Image courtesy of allmusic.com

This popular Brazilian guitarist performed at many jazz festivals not only in his homeland, but according to a brief bio on the Allmusic website–he also has taken his act to Paris, Canada, and the United States.  Among some of his other works were   1985’s Alguma Coisa A Ver Com O Silencio, Casamata, and Caminhos Cruzados from 1993.  Rocha made his American debut with the album Moleque (translated meaning, Child) for Malandro Records in 1998.

The album is simply a yawner on most of the tracks.  If you want to have an album worth taking a nap to, this would be a great choice.  From the classic opening track, “Aqua de Beber” to the title track, and “Nossa Gente” (“Our People”) on Track 8, the pace is very relaxed throughout.

The other interesting reason to get this album on CD is that the late Oscar Castro Neves penned the liner notes and thoroughly explained why the guitar has been widely popular in Brazilian music since the late 1950’s.

I am not saying this album is bad, but I have heard better albums before.  So, in my book–it is average–not great, but not horrible like the one image of a barefoot boy kicking a soccer ball on the cover which I covered a few years back.

As for Ulisses, he continues to tour across the world.  No new signs of any future albums are forthcoming.

I plan to make it up with a really cool review of Paulinho Garcia’s 2014 cool album, Beautiful Love–just in time for Dia dos Namorados, Brazilian Valentine’s Day which is on Tuesday, June 12.

As a matter of fact, the word love is mentioned in exactly one third of the tracks (5 out of 15 overall).  Only on two of the tracks are sung in Portuguese, so I plan to have a bit more virtual romantic vibes.

Hopefully, most Brazilians will have fun on their special day like the rest of the world tries to pucker up each February 14.  But as Wikipedia cleverly mentions, with Carnival often falling around the similar times as New Orleans’ wild Mardi Gras celebrations–Brazil decided many years ago to have their version of Valentine’s Day on Tuesday evening in honor of St. Anthony of Padua.

See you then.  Please enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Artists Worth Checking Out: The Richard Sorce Project

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Image courtesy of musicabrasileira.org

Richard Sorce has been on the faculty at Ramapo College and William Paterson University (New Jersey) since 1999. He holds a Ph.D. in music theory and composition from New York University.  While still based in New York City,  he brought along very skilled musicians featuring the likes of Rob Reich (guitar), Sue Wiliams (bass), Don Giunta (drums), Dave Yee (percussion), Mark Friedman (alto sax, flute), Fred Maxwell (trumpet, flugelhorn), Brian Bonvissuto (trombone).

Also featured prominently is the vocalist by the name of Iara Negrete.  She comes by way of São Paulo and grew up in a musical family, with her father being a classical guitaris).  Her early inflences include the likes of Elis Regina, Leny Andrade, Sarah Vaughan, and Stevie Wonder.  She also has a pair of Brazilian albums to her credit, just like Sorce.

This over 71 minute compilation album has some really good natured songs, with a playful set of lyrics and a relaxing beat appropriate for either work or travel.  Sorce himself referred on several music review websites as, “reminiscent of the Brazilian style of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.”

The first pair of songs start out on the slower side, before the tempo picks up at a more faster pace on the radio friendly played track, “Samba Para a Vida”.

The remainder of the album mostly continues on the fun and cheerful vibe, as Negrete sings her way through many fun bossa type tunes.

Overall, it is a very cool listen and definitely one album worth adding to your jazz library.  It is available on Amazon and eBay for physical CD purchase, and also on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music for instant streaming.

Next week, I will dive back into my CD archive and see what disk I decide to pull out.  Hope to see you all then.

Artists Worth Checking Out: Carlos Malta

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Image courtesy of allmusic.com

Carlos Malta was born on February 25, 1960 in Rio.  He mainly plays several types of flute instruments–along with clarone, saxophone, and clarinet.

According to the Portuguese Wikipedia page, Malta started playing professionally at the age of 18, mainly playing with the likes of Gil Evans, Maria Creuza, Johnny Alf, and Antônio Carlos & Jocáfi.  Three years later, he toured with Hermeto Pascoal, forging a nice musical relationship which lasted a dozen years.

His solo career began in 1993, and has been going strong for the last quarter century.

He also played with Egberto Gismonti, Pat Metheny, Gil Evans, Marcus Miller, Charlie Haden, Wagner Tiso, Laércio de Freitas and Nico Assumpção.

Since 1994, Carlos also was a teacher for many festivals that take place throughout Brazil and around the world.  That same year, he helped found the groups Coreto Urbano (done by varied formation) and Pife Muderno (which featured Andréa Ernest Dias, Marcos Suzano, Oscar Bolão and Durval Pereira).

Three years later, he appeared in the 1997 Free Jazz Festival with the Urban Coreto and the Modern Pife groups, in a show chosen by O Globo newspaper as the best show of the year.

His first sold CD was released in 1998 which is simply titled, “The Wind Sculptor”.

Among such accolades, he also took part in some very special concerts when the Dave Matthews Band played in tours of Rio in the years 2008, 2010, and 2013–along with a separate tour stop in Porto Alegre, also in 2013.
Of his five solo albums, they were mostly done around the turn of the century.  His most recent work from 2011 is called, Prana.
My review this time around is from of his earliest compilations from 1998, translated meaning Brazilian Way.
It is, by far–in the mind of this blog reporter–the most calm and soothing album I have ever heard on that end of the Equator.
Only a few albums from the likes of Vancouver pianist/songwriter extraordinaire in Diana Krall and the always kind, honest, fun-loving Alaska by birth and true Oregon native Halie Loren come very close to setting the right good-natured mood if you want to just take a mental break from all of the chaos and mundane things that continue to dominate American society today.
Featuring hits titled Light of the Sun, Chameleon (not related to the awesome 1980’s pop rock song done by Boy George and Culture Club), Swim of the Mermaid, and Messing Around With My Band–please don’t take the song titles lightly.
This is a nice album to simply kick off your shoes, or heels in the case of the ladies and my favorite MPB’s reading.  The CD is available for purchase on Amazon and eBay, and should also be streamed via Apple Music and Tidal.  Spotify has his most recent works.
Next week, as we close out the long month of May and especially after the first weekend of summer in the United States as America briefly pauses to remember all of the men and women in uniform who died in the heat of battle during all conflicts from the Revolutionary War to the current ordeal in Iraq–
Please look for a review of work done by Richard Sorce, who did a compilation project during the last three years and his 2017 album release was gaining quite some decent notoriety in and out of Brazil upon its’ release.
See you all seen, and please stay safe everybody–especially with the true summer heat finally penetrating the northern half of the United States.
Take that, Ol’ Man Winter.  Surf’s Up, if you are willing to try.
 

 

Here Is A Calm Playlist Dedicated To All Of The Sleep Deprived People After Watching The Royal Wedding

This is why the Olympics in other countries do not play well with most American audiences–with the rare exception of people working the graveyard shift.

With the first ever streamed wedding involving Meghan Markle, who was a one-time Briefcase Gal of NBC’s once popular game show Deal or No Deal back in 2007 (who briefly appeared opening up those silver briefcases for only four episodes)…

I thought of just the right playlist of songs that will help everyone get some much needed sleep on this mostly raw, dismal looking Saturday morning in most of the Midwest and New England regions.  And for some of you who might be somehow listening in on the buses and trolleys on your way back to London’s Heathrow Airport–I hope this nearly hour long playlist of classic tunes from 1966 helps pass the time wisely:

 

Master Composers: Ithamara Koorax Sets The Right Mood With Serenade In Blue

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Image courtesy of allmusic.com

Ithamara Koorax was born in Rio on May 23, 1965.  She has worked with many greats from Brazilian jazz past including Antonio Carlos Jobim, Edu Lobo, and Larry Coryell.  Among present day artists, Koorax has worked alongside Ron Carter, Jay Berliner, and the group Azymuth.

Between 1993 and 2007, Ithamara has produced 32 albums and two concert DVD’s.  My Album Pick of the Week features her work from May 2000, minus the 2001 bonus cuts and the enhanced disk released by Concord Records in 2006.

The 45 minute compilation album is great for late night listening.  It starts out at a snail’s pace with the seven minute number, “Bonita”.  By the time we hear her version of “Mas Que Nada” on Track 3, it started out great and then it got into many Ow!’s towards the final minute.  Thankfully, the good moments outnumbered the bad.

Her takes on “Moon River” (Track 5) and “The Shadow of Your Smile” (Track 8) are true showstoppers.  She continues to perform all over the world, especially in Europe and Japan where she has received huge acclaim for her singing.  When she sang in English, she never skipped a beat in addition to doing some French and her native Portuguese–each song was beautifully done.

Perhaps it was said best on the Fantasy Records label liner notes penned very neatly by Lee Jeske.  He took up nearly four full pages of the CD insert explaining all of the accomplishments that Ithamara did throughout the 1980’s and into the 1990’s.

However, the last small paragraph struck an interesting chord with me as a loyal, passionate fan of smooth jazz in general and Brazilian jazz in particular.

The quote went something like this:

“She’s a singer of her time, and this is an album of its time.  Bossa nova, lounge music, drum-and-bass, jazz, samba, English, French, Portuguese.  Electric, acoustic.  Everything is mixed and matched and blended and constructed in a way that speak of no time but all time.”

That is an excellent reason that Ithamara Koorax definitely belongs as a true Master Composer and deserves a nice place in your music library of choice.

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Image courtesy of altoeclaro.blogspot.com

I plan to do my next entry on Saturday.  Hope to see you then.