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

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Image courtesy of katastrofalaomslag.blogspot.com

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

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Both images courtesy of lacasting.com

vs. Michael Franks

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Images courtesy of Apple Music (above) and microsoft.com (below)

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

Presenting the Fifth Annual Marco Loucura Brazilian Fun Jazz Tournament

E que comece a diversão

Let the fun begin.  Better a bit late than never, right my favorite MPB’s?

The seeding was a bit nerve-racking as a few new favorites slid into the last minute 10 and 11 slots.  But the top four and the bottom four seeds were pretty much set.  As longtime veteran ESPN Radio broadcaster Mike Greenberg says each Friday morning during the NFL season as, “Stone Cold Lead Pipe Locks”–there are plenty of familiar names sprinkled about as you scroll down and see who made it to the virtual party.

One small note…all of the picture credits can be found with an * at the very bottom of this blog post.  Thank you all for your understanding.

And now, without any further adieu, here are the 2017 Brazilian Fun Jazz Brackets–Starting in the upper left corner in a region where they have the Rio airport named after the man who pretty much started it all:

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ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM REGION

The Overall Number 1 seed is defending champion…

1  Joyce Cooling

16  Soulstance

8  Claudia Leitte

9  Patricia Marx

5  Patricia Talem

12  Marcos Valle, back again for the second year in a row

4  April Aloisio

13  Doris Monteiro, almost forgotten talent from the Bossa heyday of the 1960’s

6   Ricardo Silveira

11  Syliva Telles

3  Marcio Montarroyos

14  George Duke

7  Ulisses Rocha

10  Chris Standring

2  Frank Sinatra

15  Gerardo Frisina

Next up, we head to the Upper Right Quadrant in your brackets and we find the…

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MILTON NASCIMENTO REGION

The Overall Number 2 seed is the woman who wore that interesting umbrella dress during the 2012 London Olympics Closing Ceremony…

1  Marisa Monte

16  Alexia Bomtempo

8  Ive Mendes

9  Wanda Sa

5  Ivete Sangalo, will her exuberant dresses shake her way past the First Round this time?

12  Morgana King

4  Sherie Julianne

13  Ligia Piro

6   Laurindo Almeida

11  Lee Ritenour

3  Walter Wanderley

14  Yutaka

7  Carol Welsman

10  Julie Dexter

2  Fabiana Passoni

15  Ceu, making her Brazilian Fun Jazz debut

We next head down the Lower Right Quadrant and we check in on the…

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OSCAR CASTRO NEVES REGION

The Overall Number 3 seed and top dog of this Region is…

1  Michael Franks, hoping last year’s stinging last second loss will not linger for a second time.

16  Gregg Karukas

8  Rique Pantoja

9  Superpulse

5  Basia

12  Manu Santos, back again for the second year in a row looking for another surprise

4  Lori Carsillo

13  Bruna Caram

6  Ivan Lins

11  Randy Crawford

3  Monica da Silva, just fresh off her cross-country move to L.A.

14  Cris Braun

7  Luciana Souza

10  Mark Sganga

2  Gisele de Santi

15  Liz Story, making her first Brazilian Fun Jazz appearance

Finally, we have arrived at the Lower Left Quadrant.

As the old saying goes, ‘The Best Shall Be Last’.

However, I beg to differ just a bit–since this veteran musician has had a difficult beginning to 2017 and my blog in late January wanted to do more than just set the record straight.  It was about having an extra virtual shoulder to lean on in difficult times.  Thankfully, my prayers along with those well wishes from several MPB’s, friends and fans alike helped this woman greatly gain a deeper perspective both on this complex journey called life and giving us some major lessons on how to live each and every day to its’ fullest potential.

I am proud to name my final region after a really great friend of this Blog.

Welcome One, Welcome All to the Always Amazing, Very Smart and Truly Proud…

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HALIE LOREN REGIONAL

And the final Number 1 seed is another cool friend of this Blog…

1  Bianca Rossini

16  Bobby Brazil

8  Sergio Mendes, making his first ever appearance after so many years!

9  Seu Jorge

5  Tania Maria

12  Toco

4  Sabrina Malheiros

13  Babado Novo

6  Boney James

11  Pat Metheny

3  Paula Fernandes

14  Hebe Camargo, another brief star of early bossa nova from the 1960’s

7  Danni Carlos

10  Maria Bethania

2  Diana Krall

15  Kleber Jorge

FIRST FOUR, the names in bold advanced after initial matchups were played on March 14 and 15:

NEVES:  Soulstance vs. Stacey Kent

JOBIM:   Randy Crawford vs. Carlos Maita

NASCIMENTO:  Ithamara Koorax vs. Alexia Bomtempo

JOBIM:  Al di Meola vs. Sylvia Telles

The likes of Muiza Adnet, Moacir Santos, Ze Bruno, and Full Circle all saw their bubbles burst.

Check back next Monday for a simple breakdown of the first two rounds and an updated doce dezesseis, or Sweet Sixteen bracket.

Please remember, these brackets will resemble that of the real NCAA Men’s Division One Basketball Tournament to take place on CBS and three Turner cable outlets.

For all things hoops related, please kindly again tap or click on the link below.

As an added bonus, you can actually hear my voice for the first time in some specific blog posts since November 2016.  Kindly scroll down until you see the huge Soundcloud rectangular banners with the image that says, “I Love Basketball”.

All of your key news on the real Big Dance can be found at…

https://fortyminutesofhoopsfun.wordpress.com/

* Pic Credits for Antonio Carlos Jobim and Milton Nascimento were courtesy of listal.com, Oscar Castro Neves courtesy of noticiasjazz.blogspot.com, and Halie Loren was courtesy of iv1.lisimg.com.

Master Composers: Rosinha de Valenca

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Image courtesy of cifrantiga2.blogspot.com

Born as Maria Rosa Canelas on July 30, 1941, she lived until June 10, 2004 spending most of her time in her hometown of Valenca in Rio.

Best known for her playing of the acoustic guitar, she picked up the instrument and learned at a very young age since her brother played it.  According to her Wikipedia page, she also picked up many sounds while listening to the radio.  She would later travel to the United States in teaming up Sergio Mendes, Wanda de Sah, and Brasil ’65.  She would also tour the world from 1968 until 1971.  She produced six albums between 1964 and 1990 and also recorded a trio of live albums from 1966, 1975, and 1977.

My album pick to wrap up February goes back to her earliest work and probably her most famous from 1964 in the album simply titled, Apresentando.

Clocked in at ten simple tracks totalling only 24 minutes and 49 seconds, it is very fast paced and loose in terms of the musical arrangements.  Plenty of flutes play in the opening three tracks and some horns dominate on the fourth song.

But there was only small problem with the liner notes:

It is all in Japanese. 

As Charlie Brown used to say years ago, “UGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH!”

As a public service, I will be happy to email someone several pictures of the liner notes.

Your job, should you choose to accept it is a simple one–

Please find someone who is fluent with written Japanese words to translate the print language into American English.  That is going to be the only way possible to give my usual complete blog.

As for the overall album itself–it is a cool listen, excellent for any Sunday afternoon no matter what season it is on the calendar.  Although we don’t get to hear her voice until the fifth and final track, it is still a very nice album.

And in case if you were wondering, it is available for purchase on Amazon–mostly in Japan.  I was surprised that an order was placed in October 2016 and it took until the Friday before the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday to finally receive the CD in the mail.

Yes, the wait for me was all worth it in the end.

Rosinha will simply be remembered as a great star who packed a lot of life in such a short period of time.  Although she spent her final years suffering major health problems ranging from a heart attack and eventually slipping into a coma, she definitely left her mark during the golden age of Brazilian jazz.

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As I patiently and calmly await official word from two of my favorite MPB’s today that Fabiana Passoni will be releasing a duet of “Namarados” with Roberto Vally, and Monica da Silva will soon be producing a new album.  Just fyi, Monica is part of the cool duo of the Complicated Animals with Chad Alger.  They just wrapped up a successful tour around Jacksonville, Florida and have both decided to pull up their stakes several thousand miles away in Los Angeles.

But going forward–I have decided to kick off March in a different, but fun way.

What would the early MTV hits of the mid 1980’s sound like in bossa nova form?

The same group that digitized Cecilia Dale’s work also did the Bossa Project Lounge and I will spend a bit of time on Wednesday deciphering their takes on popular Top 40 songs ranging from Tears for Fears in “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”, the Pet Shop Boys in “West End Girls”, The Pretenders in “Don’t Get Me Wrong”, and one of my all-time favorite rock songs growing up, the famous 1983 hit single by The Police with “Every Breath You Take.”

There are also a couple of smooth jazz hits as they put their spin on Stevie Wonder and Earth, Wind, and Fire.  Look for that review after taking in another edition of Carnaval in Rio and Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Please have a great week, everybody.  Hope to see you all then.

So long, Al Jarreau

True giant in the jazz industry passes away hours before Grammy Awards

Citing an online article from Ebony magazine, the seven time Grammy winner died suffering from exhaustion.  However, no actual cause of death was released.  This happened a few days after announcing his retirement on Twitter from touring after an exemplary 50 year career (professionally began in 1975).

He died one month before turning 77, but what a discography of songs Al Jarreau left behind–as the only jazz artist to win Grammy Awards in jazz, pop, and R&B.

Besides doing a very slow remake of “Love Dance”, he did some really cool songs during the 1980’s from covering the theme to the once popular ABC prime time drama series Moonlighting, the popular Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 hit, “Like A Lover”, “We’re In This Love Together”, and one of my early favorite jazz hits growing up, “After All”.

In lieu of flower and other gifts, the family has requested that donations be sent to  the Wisconsin Foundation for School Music, which is an organization that supports music opportunities for teachers and scholarships for students in Milwaukee and throughout the state of Wisconsin.

His manager, Joe Gordon, in a tribute to on Jarreau’s website, described the singer as “the ultimate gentleman who never stopped appreciating his listeners or the myriad people who worked for him directly or indirectly.

His first priority, far ahead of the other (music), was healing or comforting anyone in need.  Whether it was emotional pain, or physical discomfort, or any other cause of suffering, he needed to put our minds at ease and our hearts at rest.  He needed to see a warm, affirming smile where there had not been one before.  Song was just his tool for making that happen.”

Another kind person and cool talent has left us.  Sadly, there aren’t too many left.

Al Jarreau said it himself in 2016 reflecting on a remarkable career in an article on the Jazz Times magazine website, growing up hearing classical music to the blues on 1950’s and 1960’s Milwaukee radio:

“How lucky we were as musicians to have those influences which were really present in our lives. There were no walls then; there are so many walls today.”

He will be missed, but his music shall live on.  May Al Jarreau RIP.

 

 

Mike Tirico replaces Bob Costas as NBC Olympics prime time host

Announcement comes seven months after Tirico enjoyed nice 25 year career at ESPN

A record 11 Olympics in prime time including 157 straight nights from Barcelona 1992 to prior his eye infection at Sochi 2014 (which includes the last nine Olympiads consecutively), coupled with 27 Emmys for sports, news, and entertainment are records that will stand the test of time, no matter how we consume our media.  Since 1980, Bob Costas has pretty much done it all for the one time Chicago Bulls voice for road games on WGN in Chicago.  Even going back to his days covering DePaul in men’s college basketball and the wild Saturday afternoon staple of baseball’s original Game of the Week, he would go on to later do the NFL, NBA, horse racing, and of course the late night staple talk show, Later with Bob Costas.

According to John Ourand of the Sports Business Daily website, the announcement comes one year to the day when the next Olympics begins in PyeongChang, Korea.  Costas, age 64, will still remain at NBC Sports in a limited capacity.  According to a statement released by the network and posted on NBCSports.com, Costas reflected on a truly remarkable era in television history:

“It has been both a privilege and an incredible personal and professional experience to have been part of NBC’s Olympic coverage all these years.   I’m especially appreciative of all the talented and dedicated people I worked for and with on those broadcasts.  I always felt that, in a certain sense, I was carrying the ball for them.  It’s been a wonderful run, but I just felt now was the right time to step away and I’m grateful that NBC left that decision to me.”

Consider the rigors of travel across several time zones, it wears out many people.  His eye problem notwithstanding from Sochi in 2014, this announcement was not like the recent retirement of Brent Musburger leaving ESPN (of which that you can read more in my college basketball blog).

Costas has thought all along that Rio was the right time to say, despedida or farewell to the biggest staple of American sports programming.  He will no longer be traveling to stadiums during Sunday Night Football and instead will cover the Kentucky Derby horse race (the New York Times reported that starting in 2018, he would only cover the Belmont Stakes if a horse has a chance to win the Triple Crown).  He will file taped sports pieces on occasion and especially during future coverage of the NFL Playoffs.  With Tirico, age 50, stationed in Korea, Costas will return as the primary host in Minneapolis for NBC’s coverage of Super Bowl XLII, which will air five days before the next Olympics.  Costas will also continue to file taped pieces for NBC News on occasion.  This announcement also means Bob will be doing his first love on MLB Network, and that is he will continue to broadcast baseball games in addition to voicing documentaries and hosting the long-form programs that he has been famous for.

The SBJ online article simply stated:

“NBC Broadcasting and Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus said Costas first brought up the idea of stepping down from the host role during his contract negotiations in 2012.  At that point, according to Lazarus, Costas said, “I’m good to go through Sochi and Rio and do everything that I’ve been doing. After Rio, let’s reassess.” Fast forward to early in the fall before an “SNF” telecast this (2016) season, Costas told him that he decided to pass the torch. “I said, ‘Are you sure? Why don’t you think about it a little bit,’” Lazarus said. “He thought about it for another couple of weeks. We sat down again, and he said, ‘Yeah, that’s what I want to do.’”

It did not take long for Lazarus, NBC Olympics Exec Producer Jim Bell and NBC Sports Exec Producer Sam Flood to settle on Tirico as Costas’ replacement. NBC hired Tirico from ESPN in July 2016. He almost immediately traveled to Rio to help host some of NBC’s coverage. “It was always something we contemplated when we hired Mike,” Lazarus said. “After getting to know him and his work a little closer, it became clear to us that he was the guy. It wasn’t a difficult decision at all. We didn’t wrestle with it or contemplate it very long.”

In a full circle moment, Mike Tirico was the first recipient of the Bob Costas Scholarship Award while attending Syracuse in the late 1980’s.  As we all found out with his rather unique pairing with the versatile Al Michaels on the pristine sand of Copacabana Beach in Rio this past August, Tirico is as smooth and prepared as far as covering several sports in a short amount of time.

Let this statement sink in for a while:

Mike Tirico will lead NBC’s Olympic coverage in 2018 and possibly all the way through the rest of the network’s current Olympics contract until 2028.

“The level and longevity of Bob’s tenure have left an indelible mark on American television and the Olympic Games.  I am honored to call him a friend, humbled by this opportunity, and thankful to the many people who have helped make this possible.”

Statement by Mike Tirico on the NBC Sports Group website

What a remarkable run, which also included leading the late night coverage from Seoul, Korea way back in September 1988.  Costas has that unique ability to cover many sports almost seamlessly and with seeing and hearing Tirico cover many sports from college football/basketball and the NBA to presently covering The Open and Ryder Cup golf tournaments and hosting Football Night in America, things will turn out fine.

Here is a great interview they both did with Niko Tamurian, which can be found on the CNYCentral page on YouTube:

The full article at Sports Business Daily can be accessed via paying for an online subscription, but the press release at NBC Sports Group and thoughts from the New York Times can be found here:

BOB COSTAS PASSES OLYMPIC TORCH TO MIKE TIRICO AS NBC’S PRIMETIME OLYMPIC HOST

Bob Costas passes Olympic primetime torch to Mike Tirico

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/02/09/business/media/bob-costas-nbc-olympics-host.html?_r=0&referer=

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

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Image courtesy of onlymichaelfranksmusic.blogspot.com

 

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.