The Marco Loucura Final Four is Set

As dramatic as the East Regional semifinals were on Friday night in New York City along with Sunday’s South Regional final decided in the last second down in Memphis, there were major shakeups in the Brazilian Fun Jazz brackets as well.

Starting with the Antonio Carlos Jobim Region, the 7 seed of Ulisses Rocha stepped up his game and stopped the 3 seed of Marcio Montarroyos and the 4 seed of April Aloisio cold in their tracks.

In the Halie Loren Regional, I am sure she is smiling from ear to ear that the top seed of Bianca Rossini outlasted a surprise upset bid from the 4 of Sabrina Malheiros (whom I bet was hoping that summer wasn’t ending in Brazil so quickly, while the Northern Hemisphere is hoping to eventually catch the annual spring fling with winter still firmly gripped in key parts of the northern United States).

Bianca then easily took care of the 11 seed of Pat Metheny and pretty much turned his music into virtual mush in earning her first Final Four online berth.

The other side of the bracket had the 3 seed of Walter Wanderley emerge unscathed out of the Milton Nascimento Regional, then easily bounced the top seed of Marisa Monte to claim his own Final Four online berth.  Poor Sherie Julianne, who came so far so fast again in 2017–but I am sure she will get another chance maybe next year.

Finally in the Oscar Castro Neves Region, all congratulations go out to Michael Franks for making it back for the second straight year.  Although Monica da Silva was impressive during her Sweet 16 run, it was just wasn’t meant to be.  Somehow, even Gisele de Santi tried her best fashion sense to outsmart Franks in the final moments–but it was that inner moxie that proved to be the difference and sent de Santi home for the summer.

So, your 2017 Brazilian Fun Jazz Final Four will include these semifinal match-ups:

7. Ulisses Rocha vs. 1. Bianca Rossini

3. Walter Wanderley vs. 1. Michael Franks

I bet similar to Oregon waiting for their first chance to cut down the nets since 1939 that true fans of Walter Wanderley are hoping this will finally be his year.  But for my virtual money, I hope Bianca Rossini comes through when it matters most.

Stick around and find out next weekend, and that is not an early April Fool’s joke.

Prior to the final game on Monday, April 3–my blog will be littered with pics of the finalists.  In the meantime, please look for a new album review from Eliane Elias and her Dance of Time album that will definitely give your dancing shoes a true workout.

Plus later on in the week, I am planning to do a short review of Lee Ritenour’s World of Brazil album.  See you all then, please make this week a great one.


Vip Vop–Simply Amazing


Image courtesy of

By 2012, Leo Gandelman was still going strong.

And this above album proves it.  From the title track to Track 5, the memorable “Lancamento” (or simply, “Release”)…this album has something for everyone.

The music brings to mind the early bossa nova era of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.

A smashing fast pace on Track 8, “Camisa 7” (or simply, “Jersey 7”) and many songs that can be easily enjoyed either at a club or hosting guests for a dinner party.

As an added bonus, there is a live DVD of the band including special guest Sergio Trombone playing this same exact order of the album in black and white.  Plus, there is a short behind the album documentary lasting nearly seven minutes–again shot in B&W.

Overall, this is a must-have album for your jazz library.  Even nicer, the front part of the cardboard that includes the jewel case opens like the first page of a book.  All of the technical specs are included on the back cardboard.

Next week, I will do a review of a contemporary of Leo Gandelman on the smooth jazz scene who did his own take on Brazil at around the same time my all-time favorite baseball team dominated the Major Leagues from start to finish as the Chicago White Sox erased 88 years of frustration in capturing the 2005 World Series.

His name is Lee Ritenour, and please look for that review sometime next week.

See you then.

Many Surprises Leading Up to Marco Loucura’s Version of the Sweet 16 Round

As exhausting as it was for four nights during the real NCAA basketball tournament, there were many popular names from Brazilian jazz getting knocked off their high chairs as well.

Case in point:

In the Antonio Carlos Jobim Regional, Sylvia Telles came up huge against Ricardo Silveira before falling valiantly to the third seed of Marcio Montarroyos.

But no upset was bigger than last year’s champion of Joyce Cooling, being politely discarded by the 8 seed of the big hair and fancy eyelashes of Claudia Leitte.

And just before I typed this blog late on Sunday night, Ol’ Blue Eyes bit the dust again as Frank Sinatra got rudely kicked to the curb by the 7 seed of Ulisses Rocha.

Halie Loren’s bracket held up pretty well, even though Halie herself did a lot of good helping those less fortunate kids in Haiti.

The 11 seed of Pat Metheny advanced past the 6 seed of Boney James and breezed easily past the 3 seed of Paula Fernandes.

In the Milton Nascimento Region, another surprise as the 7 seed of Carol Welsman had just a strong enough voice to get by the 10 seed of Julie Dexter and also unseated a very popular pick in this blog, the second seed of California’s very own Fabiana Passoni.

Finally in the Oscar Castro Neves Region, most of the upsets took place relatively early on–as the 12 seed of Manu Santos smiled and pranced her way past the former Polish princess from Chicago in Basia.  Sadly, Santos’ run ended with her heels off against a more experienced 4 seed of Lori Carsillo.

And so, here are the updated brackets going forward as we head towards the final week of March.

Matchups will take place Thursday and Friday, with Elite Eight matchups over the weekend.  Enjoy:


8 Claudia Leitte vs. 4 April Aloisio

3  Marcio Montarroyos vs. 7 Ulisses Rocha


1 Bianca Rossini vs. 4 Sabrina Malheiros

Just as hot a matchup as all of the nerds that comprise the IT community in Silicon Valley near San Jose.

11 Pat Metheny vs. 2 Diana Krall

Yes, spring is not here yet in most of the country but I expect Diana Krall to show more than the usual goods in this matchup.


1 Marisa Monte vs. 4 Sherie Julianne

3 Walter Wanderley vs. 7 Carol Welsman


Form held true in this regional:

1 Michael Franks vs. 4 Lori Carsillo

3 Monica da Silva vs. 2 Gisele de Santi

The move to L.A. has really helped rejuvenate Monica and her fan base.

Question is, will it be enough to be considered an elite performance?

Tune in and find out again next week–same virtual bat time, same virtual bat blog.

In the meantime, please look for my final review of Leo Gandelman sometime later this week.  Please take care, everybody.

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:



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…



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…



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…



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…

* Pic Credits for Antonio Carlos Jobim and Milton Nascimento were courtesy of, Oscar Castro Neves courtesy of, and Halie Loren was courtesy of

Plenty of Recognizable Songs On “Brazilian Soul”


Image courtesy of

By 2001, Leo Gandelman managed to bring on a trio of recognizable radio hits for smooth jazz fans the world over.

On the Jazzateria album Brazilian Soul and in particular–Tracks 2, 5, and 9 “Maracatu Atomico”, “Antiqua”, and “Rise” they are immediate songs that are instantly recognizable, at least IMHO.  They are all excellent songs to party to, or just have on cruising down the highway during a long road trip.

As for the first three songs and especially the last two, the beat goes down almost to a turtle’s crawl–a rather slow, methodical pace.

Overall, this is an excellent album and great addition to your jazz library.

Next week, look forward to both a CD and DVD behind the album review of one of his latest works simply titled, Vip Vop.  See you all then.

Fifth Annual Marco Loucura Tournament Just Around The Corner

Yes, coinciding with the wildly popular American NCAA Men’s basketball tournament, I have done a fun virtual tournament pairing up familiar and some not-so-familiar names in the Brazilian jazz world, past and present.

The entire draw will be released on Monday, so I am sure some of my favorite MPB artists might be curious to know where they will be seeded.

Unlike the real NCAA’s where the RPI and online rankings from the likes of Ken Pomeroy and the Sagarin ratings from USA Today are used to determine who is tournament worthy and which schools are not, I simply use one metric to determine who gets in my field of 68 and who does not:


And the best part about this fun bracket that I get to do each March is simple.  The only thing that is at stake when all is said and done come the first Tuesday in April is that the artist (living or dead) will get virtual bragging rights for an entire year.

No cash or prizes of any kind will be offered for being in this tournament.  Just the pure fun and love of the sport that I have enjoyed seeing on my television screens since 1979 should be reason enough.

That is why the brackets will mirror that of the actual NCAA Tournament.  If we have a 12 seed somewhere knocking out a 5, that artist gets an early spring and summer vacation.  But come the first days of April, my blog will be painted with cool pictures of the final combatants.

I hope you are all looking forward to seeing which names will be in your inboxes come Monday, March 13.  This weekend, the draw will be taking shape–similar to the real NCAA’s with 20 automatic bids to be decided in games played all over the United States.

And by the time many media members and bloggers discuss, dissect, and predict all 67 games of the upcoming “Big Dance”, my mind will need a breather.  This is how the Brazilian Fun Jazz Tournament was born.

See you all then.  Hopefully, this version of the bracket will promise to be fun and interesting.



Artists You Should Know: Leo Gandelman


Image courtesy of

Born as Leonardo Gandelman on August 10, 1956 in Rio, this multi-talented composer and producer is best known on both sides of the Equator with his great work on the saxophone.

For the next few weeks, I will be profiling some of his key works starting with the 1990 album Solar (pronounced similar to “candy bar”).

Running about 53 minutes in length, 11 of the 12 tracks are mostly calm and good natured tunes–great for doing household chores or just baking your favorite desserts.

He teams up with Ricardo Silveira on four tracks:  “Baganas” (Track 2), “Little Bits” on Track 4, and “Traveler” on Track 7.  The only song that inspires people to get up and dance to the beat is when Gal Costa joins in on the “Bahian Hip-Hop” on Track 11.

The liner notes offer your usual credits of who performed besides Leo on each track, plus there is a nice B&W photo of a train rolling through the Brazilian countryside.  And on the back of the album, I have but one question:

Did Leo Gandelman look similar to former American pop star Richard Marx?

You be the judge.  Next Tuesday or Wednesday, look for a review of his 2001 work Brazilian Soul.

Please enjoy your weekend.