Pery Ribeiro (1937-2012) began his career dubbing the voice of Bashful, one of the Seven Dwarfs while his mother took on the role of Snow White herself.
It would not be until 1959 when he began his long and illustrious singing career. While being employed as a camera operator for the first South American TV network called TV Tupi–famed announcer Cesar de Alencar gave the singer his stage name that would last the rest of his life.
In the early 1960’s, Ribeiro recorded many 78 RPM records plus he teamed up in 1961 on an album with the songs “Manha de Carnaval” and “Samba de Orfeu” by Luiz Bonfa and Antonio Maria. According to the Wikipedia page, both gentlemen were given integral parts to the soundtrack of the 1959 film Black Orpheus (of which you can read my review in an earlier blog).
But perhaps his biggest claim to fame was recording the classic bossa nova number, “Garota de Impanema”, or “The Girl from Impanema” in 1963. The song was part of his second LP, “Pery é todo bossa” (translated meaning, Pery is all bossa).
He mostly did concerts both in Mexico and the United States before calling Miami home in 1988, where he would remain for 23 years. Sadly, Pery died of a heart attack in Rio on February 24, 2012.
My Album Pick of the Week features his best work in a 17 song compilation album, which is available on Amazon. The songs are good natured, relaxing, and sometimes soothing–great for anxious times as we are all experiencing following a rather perplexing time at the XXIII Winter Olympics in South Korea.
The disk by Movieplay Music lasts about 54 minutes in length, and in general is a great disk for weekday listening. Overall, it is a very good album and definitely worth adding to your Brazilian jazz library.
Say Goodbye To (Most Of The) Master Composers, And Hello To More Rising Stars
With the notable exception of Halie Loren recently announcing on Kickstarter her tenth (!) album scheduled for a late April release, I will continue to focus on artists of these current times on a periodic basis.
If you wish to have a general definition of what a Master Composer is:
It is defined in my world as any man or woman who successfully produces at least ten albums in their lifetime. And certainly, Halie Loren has deserved this amazing title after all of the things she has been through in her early years.
Otherwise, please continue to enjoy more Artists Worth Checking Out as I continue to pursue other artists that mostly flew under the radar in the early days of the Internet, let alone social media’s early beginnings from around 1995 to 2006. My pursuit of searching for more quality albums to listen to, both on physical CD, plus via online streaming sites such as Apple Music and Spotify will help me greatly in my pursuit of chronicling as many artists as possible at least until this decade is out.
After Christmas 2019, who knows what I will decide which direction this blog will take? At least, I plan to keep it up–thanks to the many cool artists that I have come to know as great people in their own individual ways.
Later this week, as we flip the calendar to the always exciting month of March (mostly because of the many thoughts I have in my other blog as we get down to the final weeks of covering men’s college basketball in the United States), I will profile an artist who did an entire album chronicling many movie scores from past Academy Awards. And with the Oscars airing on Sunday, March 4–this is going to be nice timing as I introduce a two-fer of Ana Caram.
The rest of the blog posts throughout the rest of March will appear on your inbox on Wednesdays, so I can concentrate more on my other blog here on WordPress during the other days of the week.
But yes, I have not forgotten–
The Sixth Annual Marco Locoura Tournament Will Return on March 12.
Same regional names you have known and love, but plenty of new and upcoming artists are looking to knock off a bunch of old faves in my makeshift brackets. Is this the year for Terra de Sul or Basia to break through, or will Sylvia Brooks make a dramatic entrance? Maybe Zanna or Danni Carlos might crash the party, thinking like Loyola of Chicago hoping to make their first NCAA trip since Madonna hit it big on MTV way back in 1985.
Please stay tuned, because it is going to be fun. I will explain more about my unique part of this blog on the afternoon or early evening of Monday, March 12.
See you all again later this week. Take care, everybody.
Born as Leny de Andrade Lima on January 26, 1943 in Rio, she began her music career mostly singing in clubs in the 1960’s. After that, she would spend five years living in Mexico and a better chunk of her life in both the United States and Europe.
Tony Bennett once referred to Leny as “The Ella Fitzgerald of Brazil”. Not very well known in commercial circles, her page on Wikipedia mostly said that she earned the title as ‘Brazilian First Lady of Jazz” when her stops in Europe included countries such as Italy and the Netherlands.
Between 1961 and 2014, she was featured or co-produced in 28 different labels–including three on the CBS record label from New York (twice in 1979 and once more in 1988).
My Album Pick of the Week is on one of her last efforts from 2014, when guitarist Roni Ben-Hur was asked by Leny to do the guitar work on 14 different tracks. According to the liner notes, all but two of the songs were recorded in intense Rio heat during the last week of January 2014 inside the famous Castelo Studio. While New York and most of the New England region was suffering through the polar vertex during that winter season (thank you, ABC Meteorologist Ginger Zee for educating us Americans on Twitter and Facebook on why that term became so popular). Five months later, the tracks “Balanco Zona Sul” (Track 2) and “Ana Luisa” (Track 12) were recorded across the Hudson River at Teaneck Sound in New Jersey.
The songs flow so effervescently from her microphone to the listener’s ears, just like the calm waves from the many kilometers of Rio beaches that dot the major streets. All of them play in a very relaxing, intimate vibe–great for kicking off your shoes (or heels in the case of the ladies who might be reading) and also nice companion music if you happen to reading your favorite book either in print or using your Kindle or Nook device.
Perhaps the best quote from Leny herself said it best,
“I chose songs that will touch people through their emotions, songs of high quality…They know that I sing with my heart in my throat, because of the emotions I truly feel from the lyrics, otherwise I won’t sing. I want, I like and I only accept making good music.”
And the best part, Leny is still around to experience mostly the good times. Isn’t that what life should be all about in the first place? More good times than bad–I would say yes to that statement any day, any hour of the week.
Same goes for my final tribute to the pioneers of bossa nova as I will profile the work of Pery Ribeiro next week. To kick off March will be another two-fer featuring Ana Caram–as we draw closer to the annual Academy Awards, of course being pushed back from its’ customary February time slot due to NBC’s coverage of the Winter Olympics from South Korea. See you all next week.
Born as Elis Rosa in 1986 in Natal, Brazil, she spent her childhood years in Rio. At the tender age of 16, she began singing mainly in clubs. Five years later in 2007, she moved back to Rio and took on the stage name of Liz Rosa.
Performing in many large and small venues and music festivals throughout the globe, Liz has been fortunate enough to share the stage with the likes of Ricardo Silveira, Leila Pinheiro, Joao Bosco, and Roberto Menescal–just to name a few.
My album pick of the week from her 2012 self-titled debut album (fittingly enough with this being Valentine’s Day in the United States and most of the world. Just fyi, Brazil’s version of Valentine’s Day isn’t until June 12) ended a very long and sometimes grueling quest for Yours Truly online.
I recall first hearing about Liz earlier in the decade when I heard one of her songs on the Sounds of Brazil podcast. Her voice not only cuts through butter, it midas well cut through chocolate covered strawberries as well–she is simply amazing to hear.
Many efforts online from a few months prior to the Rio Olympics in August 2016 until late in September 2017 mostly proved fruitless. But then–just before I thought about giving up last fall, a breakthrough:
Amazon had one physical copy available from a store located in Japan.
I told my mother about it in early October, and it would soon be the first item on my Christmas list. Six weeks would pass before a white bubble mailer from Japan arrived on my front porch. And yes, my eyes grew as wide as bowling balls when I opened up the holiday wrapping paper and saw the album cover for the very first time. Mission (online) accomplished!
For the rest of you, we are very lucky in this mostly digital world that she is one of a many growing group of Brazilian jazz artists to post their music on Spotify.
Even better, after spending the last two years performing in key cities throughout her native Brazil and touring to countries from Portugal and Latvia, to Poland and Australia–Liz joined the likes of Sergio Mendes and Fabiana Passoni settling into the United States in becoming a proud American citizen in October 2016. She calls the hustle and bustle that is New York City home these days.
And after I attempted to email her my questionnaire originally in Portuguese, she replied back as if I hadn’t seen one of my high school classmates in years.
We touched base a few times after that, and she could not have been any nicer in answering my questions–including one that I had not asked of any prior Brazilian jazz MPB artist before.
My album review is simply delightful, her music is simply amazing to hear. And if you see her in the videos on her website, she has had quite a stage presence too.
Finally, if anyone who has resided in Brazil–please feel free to leave some of your comments if you so desire.
SMALL UPDATE: My Q&A with Liz was supposed to be in this space on Wednesday. I updated this late on Thursday evening, February 15 and again, no word from her. Sadly, her answers to my questions never came. But I hope to hear from her soon enough. Thanks for caring.
Yes, I realize Brazil’s Valentine’s Day isn’t until the beginning of summer on June 12, but I could not resist.
And for my longtime fans of this blog, you might have noticed that many of my Q&A subjects have been of the female gender.
It isn’t because the guys have not been accessible online, but I have found out often that the ladies have plenty of great stories to tell.
Halie Loren is great at what she does, while Fabiana Passoni, Sabrina Malheiros, Monica da Silva, and Alexia Bomtempo are great in their craft. Same goes with Sylvia Brooks, Luciana Souza, Marcela Mangabeira, and Patricia Talem.
Similar to peeling off the layers of a large onion, my subject today of Liz Rosa is another name to keep an eye on before this decade is out.
Bottom line, from the mind of this mostly hopeless romantic hoping to find “the one” someday, somewhere:
I like interviewing and profiling each woman that covers Brazilian jazz equally.
Otherwise, without your continued comments and support–I would probably end up doing a middle-of-the-road cooking blog (but that might be another subject for another day).
Without more virtual adieu, here is my present for this special day for every lover out there. There are some Brazilian jazz tunes sprinkled with lots of smooth jazz that I first heard on the radio during my time in college, and yes–some 1980’s rock that had some fun lyrics about love and romance sprinkled in:
Similar to a baseball lineup, here would be my Starting Nine if you feel like constructing a playlist of your own (the positions I posted here are for laughs):
1. Halie Loren, Center Field
2. Fabiana Passoni, Second Base
3. Monica da Silva, Right Field
4. Paula Fernandes, First Base
5. Alexia Bomtempo, Left Field
6. Liz Rosa, Catcher
7. Marina Elali, Third Base
8. Sabrina Malheiros, Shortstop
9. Either Patricia Talem or Marcela Mangabeira pitching
Diana Krall and Ivete Sangalo would be the first to come off the bench.
Fierce Competition Concludes At Rio’s Venerable Sambadrome
NBC’s favorite “Social Media Couple” of Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski both had front row access inside Brazil’s annual cutthroat competition that is Carnaval.
Whereas New Orleans does their annual Mardi Gras fest spanning several days in the area surrounding Bourbon Street featuring the colors of green, yellow, and purple–Rio’s colors are every color of the rainbow and even tropical ones dominate as each samba school (think of them not as places of learning, but as very intricate float entrants in a parade) jams suburban streets and jams the nearby expressway leading into the Sambadrome in trying to wow the judges–and each entrant has 80 minutes to do it.
If the float is too huge or wide to fit, they will notice–and the results aren’t often pretty.
If it rains, they share something in common that most football teams do–they still play, unless there is lightning around. Then and only then, there aren’t as many places underneath the stands to seek cover unlike your typical NFL stadium with all of the modern bells and whistles to accommodate even the most serious of fans.
Carnaval, in my mind evokes lots of anticipation and a sense of nostalgia similar to what most Americans think in the week leading up to the Super Bowl–as one might think of certain moments either as participants themselves or simply watching on television from childhood or during times spent as an adult.
Unlike the Super Bowl which plays out in an almost four hour act divided into four 15 minute quarters and a famous musician or group taking over the field as part of the 30 minute halftime show, the winners at Carnaval aren’t decided until at least the following weekend.
Could you imagine waiting for football’s biggest honors until after the season ends instead of having comedians like Rob Riggle, Jimmy Fallon, and Stephen Colbert host the annual Saturday night experience on the same network that televises the Super Bowl? I bet the wait for whichever samba school wins the 2018 version of Carnaval will be both excruciating and nerve-wracking.
In the end, the winners will probably share something in common with the recipients of the “silver slipper”, the Tiffany & Co. manufactured Vince Lombardi Trophy. The winner of Carnaval spent 364 days and long nights going over major and minor detail in having the deepest pockets to retain (and sometimes bring on fresh minds) the best possible talent that does not stop short until the job is completely done.
But there won’t be any parade to honor the winners–just a lot of satisfaction and all of the participants displaying lots of courage and guts in knowing they were the best samba school in all of Brazil. As one realizes how huge this event is such a key part of Brazilian culture–regardless how you plan to party tonight, please have fun and I hope you get the chance to catch part of the show on Brazilian television.
Born as Marília Medaglia in Niterói on July 25, 1944), this former Brazilian singer/songwriter composed six albums over a quarter century (1967 through 1992).
According to her Wikipedia page, she started his music career at a place called the Icaraí Regattas Club and also the Central Club in Niterói in the 1960s, collaborating with the likes of Sergio Mendes and Tião Neto.
In 1965, she took part in a major play in Sao Paulo titled, “Conta Zumbi” (translated meaning, “Zombie Account”) by Augusto Boal and Gianfrancesco Guarnieri. For her performance, she took home the APCA Award as Breakthrough Actress of the Year.
1967 was her glory year. After being named a presenter with Edu Lobo at the Zum Zum nightclub in Rio along with the TV program Excelsa (appearing with Maria Bethânia, Gilberto Gil Sergio Ricardo, and Caetano Veloso), the III Festival of Brazilian Popular Music TV Record; Marília conquered First Place for Ponteio (credits by Edu Lobo and Capinam), beating out Edu Lobo in the process.
In 1968, she defended “Memórias de Marta Saré” (Edu Lobo and Gianfrancesco Guarnieri) in the 4th annual edition of that Festival. In the first ever Samba Biennial, she finished in third with ” Presentiment “(Elton Medeiros and Hermínio Belo de Carvalho), a song that was included in his second LP.
In 1970, a concert in Bahia at the Castro Alves Theater, this time appearing alongside Vinícius de Morais and Toquinho, led to touring overseas during most of 1971 and 1972. Upon her return, the LP Encounter was released.
Very little biographical information was given after that, except for the fact that Caminhada was released during that same year.
The disk runs about 35 minutes, and is mostly a disk if you like hearing horns and flutes. The first few seconds sound like you are in a meditative state about reading to go to some yoga class. The pace picks up quickly and almost gets you into the late, great Dolores O’Riordan and The Cranberries type of pace.
If I had to pick one track that really stood out, it would be Track 5 “Fim Do Mundo” (“End Of The World”). (Good thing she didn’t good full out R.E.M. on us, just saying).
The final two tracks, the title track and “Xaxado de Espantar Tristeza” (“Freaking Out Of Sorrow”) go on a mostly deliberate, melancholy pace. In terms of the quality of the songs, it was about average at best. At least, the nice surprise is on the disk surface itself–the disk looks exactly what you would see on a vinyl record. Since this is another CD available on Amazon outlets in Japan–if anyone can translate the insert to American English, that would be greatly appreciated.
As I said in the beginning of this blog post, if you are a fan of flutes and horns–this disk should be right up your alley. I am hoping that next week’s entry will be really nice, since this is a person that I have been waiting and hoping to finally cover.
And she recently moved to New York hoping to make a name for herself after many years covering the hits in Brazil. Her name is Liz Rosa, and she will be my focus this year on Valentine’s Day. Hope to see you all then.
Born into a rich entertainment family, Sylvia Brooks was exposed to the true heyday of jazz as a young girl in Miami, Florida. Her father, Don Ippolito performed alongside heavy hitters from jazz’s true golden age such as Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, and Peggy Lee. Her mother, Johanna Dordick started out in opera and later expanded her resume to include singing many various pop tunes of the 20th century at several night clubs and resorts throughout the East Coast. In fact, according to Sylvia’s own website at sylviabrooks dot net, Sylvia’s mother founded the Los Angeles Opera Theater four decades ago in 1978.
Initially, Sylvia got into the acting bug in San Francisco under the direction of Allen Fletcher. After relocating to where she calls home these days in Los Angeles, she managed to get some work in theater and television.
However, the inner ear of childhood became her true calling. And it took a personal tragedy to find both the true courage and inner faith that has made her a true name in the jazz industry today.
Sylvia has been performing since the late 2000’s and after hearing her voice online listening on Spotify for the first time in January 2018, I can generally say that her voice is a combination of Roberta Flack, Fabiana Passoni, Halie Loren, and a good dose of Sabrina Malheiros mixed in.
She has produced three albums, including Restless in April 2012 (which included a 1940’s cover version done by Al Dubin titled, “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”–not to be confused with the popular Green Day rock hit of the same title. Thank you to Sylvia for pointing out that to me just mere hours after this blog was posted.)
After reading an awesome piece which covered her third album The Arrangement (released in May 2017) in the fall 2017 issue of JAZZIZ Magazine, I knew deep down inside that this artist would be a welcome addition to my blog. For this reason, I recently got the chance to do an email Q&A with her. I found Sylvia’s answers to my questions as both truly honest and heartfelt.
Before I begin this online interview, I wish to give a special thank you to Sylvia herself along with her manager Jerry Bergh for both forwarding my questions to Sylvia and for securing a few of the photos that were a big help to my blog.
And so, without further virtual adieu…I proudly present jazz singer/vocalist Sylvia Brooks…
- Noticing your background, you were immersed in a lot of jazz in your younger years. Was there any particular artist you manage to enjoy hearing a lot, and what was it really like being around such jazz royalty during your father’s heyday?
“It was really amazing. I was very little, so I didn’t really understand the full scope of what I was experiencing–but I think that I was very lucky to have been a little girl, and to meet all of those wonderful jazz cats–they used to come to our house to rehearse. They were very humble people and they really enjoyed having a little one running around, so I really instinctively learned about the process of the(ir) work–and, of course, instinctively, the music.”
“I love Brazilian music- Latin Music, there are many types of Latin music. I grew up in Miami, which was primarily Cuban. And I did record “Besame Mucho” in Spanish (actually written by a Cuban writer) on my latest release The Arrangement. However, I don’t speak Portuguese, and would be concerned about an American translation of many of those songs–as the message changes, and the true meaning of the song that the writer intended can get lost. Being a classically trained actor, the writers words are very important to me. I also really believe in telling the story so that it reaches people emotionally. Perhaps, someday, I will attempt it. The next album will probably lean more toward lost songs of the 30’s and 40’s- the Cotton Club era.”
“It’s interesting that you see her as a “damsel in distress”. I perceived her to be a very strong woman, who is passionate about the man she is with, but they are struggling to get along–as we all do in love. We shot that at a landmark building in downtown Los Angeles, and had to shoot after everyone left–so we shot there from 10PM until about 3:00 in the morning. It was an amazing experience.”
“I adore your name
I make you landscape
For when you want to find you
Even in a sky with so many stars
Only you know how to shineThat’s why I know that without you
Nothing good would I be
Only an empty boat
Lost on the sea”
“Yes, actually, it was a song that he wrote when I was born called “Little Me”–he wrote it for me, and it was played at his funeral. The one thing he said to me before he died was that he wasn’t ready to go yet, because there were more songs that he wanted to write.”
“What hobbies? No, seriously, music keeps me pretty busy. I’m lucky, in a way, because I know so many wonderful artists in the music industry, I am able to go out and hear them. I also love films and make a point of seeing everything that I can (although I am a bit of a snob, and only go to good movies).”
“I really hope that the song transports them into their own lives, that it touches their heart and makes them feel something. I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘I’ve heard that song before, but I’ve never really heard this lyric or that lyric.’ ‘Now I know what that song (is) all about’. ‘You made me cry’. That tells me I’m doing my job.”
“I really hope that my music speaks for me–I try to bear my heart and soul. I think it is important, when you have a calling, which I feel that I do to stay courageous and stay true to who you are, and what your message is. I can not control whether someone likes my music, or doesn’t like it, all I can do is stay true to myself. And I hope that anyone listening to my work knows that I am doing this for the right reasons–which are, as I see it–to add something of value to the human condition. And to help, as a translator, people understand their own truths. To me, that’s what an artist does.”
Personally, I feel that Sylvia Brooks is very comfortable in her own skin as a jazz singer. Regardless whether she does any jazz covers made famous originally by the dozens of Brazilian artists from the early days of bossa nova in the 1960’s to the many artists looking to carve a name for themselves throughout the United States and especially in that popular South American nation today, I do know that whatever song Sylvia Brooks sings will be an experience to savor for a lifetime and that the world indeed is in a better place with her voice meaning something far greater than what we can ever convey on this planet Earth.