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.

Masters: Lee Ritenour And His All-Star Group of Musicians Provided Great Songs To Enjoy

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Image courtesy of melvinleeadams.com

Born as Lee Mack Ritenour on January 11, 1952 in Los Angeles, this smooth jazz artist has had quite a career spanning nearly five decades.

He got his start with the legendary folk group the Mamas and the Papas in 1968.  In the late 1970’s, his mastery of using the guitar was incorporated many funk elements which were huge at the time in his first three solo albums.

Throughout the 1980’s and into the 1990’s, he helped form the group Fourplay and would team up with legendary artists on both sides of the Equator–with the likes of Djavan, Kenny G, and Ivan Lins sharing time on stage with Ritenour.

My album Pick of the Week is from 2005 on the GRP label.  Many recognizable songs which found their way onto smooth jazz radio were aplenty:

Track 4, “Dindi” has excellent vocals by DeBarge (yes, the same DeBarge who rose up the pop rock charts in the 1980’s with his hit single, “Rhythm of the Night’), Track 7 of “Harlequin” has steady rhythms and Track 9 also has a laid-back vibe on “Asa”.

Scott Adams from the “Sounds of Brazil” podcast fame mentioned in the liner notes,

“Lee’s passion and foresight succeeded in raising the bar for Brazil’s best, with brilliantly conceived arrangements and talented musicianship–and each Brazilian singer in turn responded to the invitation with his own definitive performance.”

Most of the songs were culled from prior albums originally produced in 1984, 1987 through 1989, and 1996.  Other key performers worth noting in this album include Caetono Veloso (Track 3, “Linda), Herbie Hancock on piano (Track 5, “Stone Flower”), Kevyn Lettau (Track 10, “Windmill”), and Gonzaguinha along with Kate Markowitz on the final track (“E”, or “Yeah!”).

This is another excellent album worth playing for friends or just relaxing at the beach.

See you all again next month with another cool album review–and hopefully, I will try to get some more Q&A’s involving a pair of really awesome jazz artists that are using some timeless Brazilian jazz classics in their current schedule of playing gigs.

 

Masters: Eliane Elias Comes Through Again With “Dance of Time”

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Image courtesy of hmv.co.jp

This past Friday, Eliane Elias released a new album.

In a few words, this album is simply breathtaking.

For a few of the tracks, try to think along the lines of the famed Irish band from 2000, The Coors meeting Gloria Estefan from her Miami Sound Machine during the late 1980’s and this is what you get.

From the opening track of “O Pato” and the second track being the all English jazz song, “You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me”–this is truly one party album you do not want to miss.

Good thing in my case, it is available for streaming online.

Other cool songs to savor include “Sambou Sambou” (Track 6) and “Little Paradise” on Track 7.

There are 12 total tracks totaling over 45 minutes of fun and cool jazz.  After hearing this album over the weekend, Eliane Elias is definitely looking to overtake longtime MPB favorite Marisa Monte as queen of the Brazilian jazz charts.  Five stars all the way, and hopefully sometime before the year is out–I hope to receive a physical CD of this fine album.

Later on this week, please look for my review of Lee Ritenour to close out the always crazy month of March.  Have a great rest of the day.

 

 

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

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Image courtesy of jazzchill.blogspot.com

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:

ANTONIO CARLOS JOBIM REGIONAL

8 Claudia Leitte vs. 4 April Aloisio

3  Marcio Montarroyos vs. 7 Ulisses Rocha

HALIE LOREN REGIONAL

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.

MILTON NASCIMENTO REGIONAL

1 Marisa Monte vs. 4 Sherie Julianne

3 Walter Wanderley vs. 7 Carol Welsman

OSCAR CASTRO NEVES REGIONAL

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:

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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…

HalieLoren

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.